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A medium sized cinema located in the centre of Chepstow. Originally on this site located at the rear of the Beaufort Hotel was the Assembly Rooms. In the late-1930’s the owners decided they would build a more modern cinema on the site, and employed architect Enoch Williams to design the new auditorium. The scheme was taken over by Gaumont British/Albany Ward Theatres-Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) and their architect W.E. Trent was employed to re-design Enoch Williams plans.
The frontage of the Beaufort Hotel was retained, as was the banquet room over the entrance. The new auditorium at the rear now had seating for 825 in stalls and circle. The proscenium was 25 feet wide. The Gaumont opened on 16th May 1938 with Deanna Durbin in “100 Men and a Girl”, with film star Margaret Lockwood appearing ‘In Person’.
The Rank Organisation disposed of the Gaumont to an independent exhibitor from 5th January 1958 and it was re-named Regal Cinema. In 1961, the Regal Cinema was equipped with BTH Super projectors, presumably removing the Gaumont-Kalle machines.
I worked at this cinema sometime around 1962 for three days but did not enjoy the experience. The management was obsessed about precise timing to the minute and this was difficult to achieve as the box was equipped with the dreaded integral BTH Supers. Changing from flat to ‘scope was a nightmare. The integrated changeover switches were also faulty and awaiting repair. To get a good clean change over one had to lace the machines with leader position 8 in the gate.
The Regal Cinema was closed on 3rd April 1971. The foyer was converted into a cafe and shop, with the auditorium in use as a builder’s warehouse. The cafe and shop were closed around 1964, and the building lay derelict for many years. The auditorium was demolished in 1989, but the façade survives, now in use as a coffee shop.
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