ABC Warrington

Barbauld Street,
Warrington, WA1 1EX

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ABC Ritz Warrington

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Located on Barbauld Street at the corner of Arpley Station Approach and Bridge Foot. The Ritz Cinema was built and opened by the Union Cinemas chain on 23rd August 1937 with Robert Armstrong in "Without Orders" and Chester Morris in "I Promise to Pay". On stage was Macari and His Dutch Accordian Serenaders, and organist Alex Taylor opened the Compton 3Manual/6Rank organ, which had a Melotone attached and its illuminated console was on a lift. The Ritz Cinema also had a cafe for the convenience of its patrons.

The Ritz Cinema was taken over, together with all Union Cinemas, by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937. It was re-named ABC in 1958.

The ABC was closed on 19th August 1972 for conversion into a bingo club in the former stalls area and a 474 seat cinema in the former balcony, which opened on 7th December 1972. A small second screen seating 90, opened in the former cafe area in November 1980 which had video projection.

The cinemas closed on 23rd October 1982, followed soon after by the bingo club closing. The former bingo club became a nightclub named Mr Smiths. In June 2004, the local authority requested that due to the redevelopment of the riverfront, the Ritz Cinema should be considered for listing as an historic building, however nothing seems to have come out of this. Mr Smiths became Synergy in March 2008 when new owners took over. In late-2009 it became the Halo nightclub, and the cinemas upstairs have been incorporated in to the club. It was closed in 2010. In early-2015 plans were being prepared to renovated the building into use as a youth club.

The empty building was severely damaged by an arson fire in the early hours of 14th April 2015. Two teenage girls aged 15 & 16 and four 17 year old boys were arrested on suspected arson. The building was demolished to make it safe.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

curlew
curlew on June 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm

The Ritz has just been sold for 1 million pounds to an as yet unknown buyer. The Warrington Guardian reported that WB Council put in a bid for 500,000 which was the ‘guide’ price!, in order to safeguard the building for proposed canalside devlopment- conversion to a theatre?– they have certainly been going on about it in this town for long enough

Ian
Ian on May 17, 2013 at 6:10 am

The building remains “for sale”, no asking price published, just “offers invited for the freehold” in May 2013. The building still looks in very good repair.

ABC WARRINGTON

ABC WARRINGTON

curlew
curlew on July 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

the owners LPC have submitted a demolition order starting on 11 th august 2014, they say they can do nothing as the building is amazingly not listed. There has been some lukewarm puffing and blowing in Warrington over the past couple of days, but it looks like too little to late, and it looks like another of Union Cinemas Ritz’s is about to bite the dust. This is a stunning ‘detached’ Art Deco structure, I’m amazed it’s never got as much as a local listing, can anyone help?

curlew
curlew on July 20, 2014 at 10:14 am

Amendment, apparently Warrington B council, can do nothing as it’s not listed.

michaelbrent
michaelbrent on October 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm

This building has been saved http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/north-west/125595-art-deco-club-saved-demolition

70mmbobbyj
70mmbobbyj on April 14, 2015 at 6:18 am

There has been a huge fire. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

surf_digby
surf_digby on April 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm

A old cinema that they wanted demolished, and has now mysteriously caught fire? Wow, what are the odds?

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on April 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Hmm.. There is a lot of it these days… and you cannot get insurance on an empty Cinemas and Theatres you know.

70mmbobbyj
70mmbobbyj on April 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Pictures on the Warrington Guardian show the sad demolition of the entire building.

Picturedrome
Picturedrome on April 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Sad. Both the Scala and Futurist cinemas in Lime Street, Liverpool will probably be demolished, although the “Picture House” sign (set in stone) will probably be incorporated into what replaces it. There is a campaign to save the facade…

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