100 Commercial Road,
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The Ritz Cinema opened on 10th January 1938 with Jeanette McDonald in “Maytime”. It was a takeover of a Union Cinemas project by Associated British Cinemas(ABC). There was originally a seating capacity of 1,012 on a stadium plan(stepped section at the rear, with no overhanging balcony). As was usual for a Union Cinemas designed building there was a high quality decorative treatment inside the auditorium, with Art Deco style scroll-work in plaster and light fittings of the period. The Ritz Cinema was equipped with a Compton 2Manual/4Rank organ with Melotone attachment and illuminated console which was opened by Wilfred Southworth. The Ritz Cinema also had a cafe for the convenience of its patrons. The Ritz Cinema was re-named ABC on 19th June 1961.
Closed on 19th August 1972 for twinning, the front stalls section became a bingo club, and a new 378 seat ABC opened in the stepped rear section on 16th November 1972. This closed on 10th December 1977, but the bingo operation continued.
Re-opened on 7th December 1984 as the Classic Cinema with Dan Ackroyd in “Ghostbusters”, it was re-named Cannon in 1987, then MGM, before becoming ABC again in a management buyout. The bingo club section became a nightclub named ‘Lovejoys’, now re-named ‘Dusk’. The cafe remains open as the Ritz snack bar and amusements. Odeon Theatres took over operation of the cinema in February 2000.
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