Cannon Bexleyheath

162 Broadway,
Bexleyheath, DA6 7BN

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ABC Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Regal Cinema was built for Mortimer Dent, who operated a chain of cinemas in the Birmingham area. It opened on 3rd September 1934 and within a short while, it was being operated by Sidney Bacon Pictures.

The Regal Cinema was what could be described as a ‘Super Cinema’ and was equipped with a Compton Manual/8Ranks organ that was opened by H. Robinson Cleaver. In around 1935, the Regal Cinema was taken over by Union Cinemas chain and a programing policy of films and variety began. Union Cinemas were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937.

The Regal Cinema recieved a direct hit by a German bomb on its organ chambers in 1943. The damage was patched up, but the organ never played again, and in 1948, the undamaged console was removed from the building.

It was re-named ABC from 29th January 1962 and a bowling alley was built over the car park. Closed at the end of January 1978 for conversion into a quadruple cinema, it re-opened on 28th May 1978 with 4-screens seating 506, 350, 230 and 216. The ABC was re-named Cannon in 1982 when the Cannon Group took control of ABC.

The Cannon was closed on 19th March 1987, and the last films shown were “Crocodile Dundee”, “Soul Man”, “Whoop’s Apocalypse” and “Deadly Friend”. It was soon demolished in May 1987. A supermarket was built on the site, today it is an Asda store.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Two vintage photographs of the Regal Cinema’s auditorium:
In 1934;
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Viewed from the circle in 1938:
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

An excellent set of photographs of the ABC/Cannon in its final years and eventual demolition:
View link

Buffer
Buffer on February 17, 2014 at 10:26 am

Up to quadrupling in 1978, the cinema could be let for a week to Amateur Operatic societies. This had to be booked well ahead, so sometimes a strong ABC release had to be passed over, such as “Zulu” and some early Carry On films. The Odeon, Erith or Granada, Welling happily screened them instead.

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