Cannon Hull

132 Ferensway,
Hull, HU2

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Regal Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Completed six weeks ahead of schedule and opening on 26th January 1934, the vast Regal Cinema with 2,553 seats in stalls and single balcony cost £95,000. A full stage was provided behind the 50 foot wide proscenium and was often used for pop concerts and opera! Such stars as Ronnie Hilton, Cliff Richard and The Beatles all appeared here.

A Conacher 22 unit organ with illuminated console, designed by Reginald Foort, was installed with the organ pipes housed in the space above the proscenium.

Three years after opening it was acquired by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) on 8th November 1937, and became their major cinema in the area – they owned 4 others in the city at various times.

In 1959 a new projection suite was constructed at the rear of the circle and on reopening the cinema became the ABC.

The richly decorated auditorium was however ruined in 1976 when it was rebuilt as five smaller cinemas seating 569, 346, 261, 166 and 96.

In 1989, amid talks of closure the ABC was renamed Cannon. After some company confusion as to which Cannon property (the group also owned the Cecil Cinema – now known as Cannon Classic) was to close with both being offered for sale at some point, the 5-screen Cannon (ex Regal Cinema) closed 29th June 1989.

Talks of conversion to a rock venue or conference centre came to nought and this fine old cinema was never used again. It was in a very poor condition – part of the roof had collapsed and the brickwork became sodden and porous.

The next and final attraction was to be a wrecking crew, which completed its work in January 2004.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

JKF06
JKF06 on October 3, 2006 at 12:57 am

I was contract administrator for the demolition contract for this building and had access to it for several years previously. The interior was in a fairly poor condition, particularly adjacent to the back wall where blocked drainage had resulted in a lot of water penetration. The place was about six inches deep in pigeon droppings too, not visible in the photo linked above as it had to be cleared before demolition for health and safety reasons! There was a lot of asbestos to clear too, which held up the contract.

The cinema closed in 1989, one of the last films was ‘The Living Daylights’ (I found a rather battered poster in the foyer).

I have copies of the original architects floor plans, produced by Robert Cromie of Baker Street, London.

There are a few photos at http://news.webshots.com/album/84198863QEZwxQ

JKF06
JKF06 on September 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

There’s some more pictures of mine on Flickr, including scans of the architect’s floor plans:

View link

PhilipW
PhilipW on October 28, 2008 at 7:16 pm

How very, very sad – but thank you for the pictures, nontheless. I suddenly feel rather old [well, almost 60] and a long, long way from the 16 year old Management Trainee of 1965. John Fisher was the Manager and David Riby his Assistant.

What a sentimental old fool I have become.

belleahull
belleahull on November 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

My dad worked at abc frm the late 60,s till 1990,I spent every weekend and school holiday til i was 13yrs old.I knew every nook and cranny of that place was sad to see it go very happy memories of the place

mum88
mum88 on July 27, 2010 at 3:58 pm

My mum and dad met when they worked at the “Regal” in the 1930s. Mum was an ice-cream girl and stood in the spotlight which was operated by my dad. Mum is now 88 but still remembers the film stars who visited and has photos of the staff.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 21, 2012 at 12:17 am

A British Pathé Newsreel about the construction of this theatre can be seen here.

ODEONesque
ODEONesque on July 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Sorry but what became of the Conacher organ? None too many of them about even in the heyday.

MikeJC
MikeJC on March 18, 2014 at 7:06 am

Sad to say, none of the four manual, twenty-two rank Conacher organs survived. Bits do appear on the second-hand market from time to time.

terry
terry on September 2, 2014 at 8:34 am

From The British Pathe Library:–

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKhFXBNPVvg (Rolling Stones at ABC Hull )

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