225 London Road,
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Opened on March 9, 1936 with Sylvia Sydney in “Mary Burns, Fugitive” and Henry Hall & His Band in “Music Hath Charms”, plus Laurel & Hardy in “Thicker Than Water”. The Savoy Cinema was designed by William R. Glen, the in-house architect for Associated British Cinemas(ABC). It was sited a fair distance outside the town center. Lighting in the large spacious auditorium was entirely indirect, mainly from troughs on the ceiling.
On March 31, 1953 an electrical fault resulted in a fire which totally destroyed the auditorium. Post-war building restrictions were still in force and the repaired Savoy Cinema reopened with a utilitarian appearance on December 27, 1953.
In July 1958, it closed to allow a more extensive reconstruction to take place. When it reopened as the ABC on October 19th, it held 2,118 and had been lavishly appointed. Live pop shows came to the ABC in the early 1960’s, with artistes such as Billy Fury, Cliff Richard, The Beatles, Gene Pitney and the Everly Brothers appearing.
Tripling caused the next closure – from May to November 1972. The rear circle became 650-seat screen 1 with the stalls split into screen 2 (390 seats) and 3 (187 seats). All had bland unadorned decor.
Re-named Cannon in 1986 and Safari Cinema in the late-1990’s, the cinema closed in 2004 and was torn down in March/April 2005.
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