25 Friar Street,
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The Central Picture Playhouse was opened on 25th March 1921 with "The Call of the Road". Designed by Oxford based architect George Gardiner in a Greek Revival style, it had white faiance tiles on its facade. The cinema had a cafe for the convenience of its patrons and a ballroom above. The projection booth was located on the underside of the circle.
Taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in 1931. It was given the ‘Luxury Lounge’ treatment in 1971, with luxurious seating installed in the stalls area, and the circle used as an overflow area. From 30th July 1971, it was re-named ABC.
On 14th October 1971, a second screen was opened in the former cafe area, with seating for 118. In March 1977, the main auditorium was closed for twinning, and re-opened on 12th May 1977 with 534 seats in the former stalls and 226 seats in the former circle.
Re-named Cannon in 1986, it was re-named MGM on 4th June 1993, then went back to the ABC name. It was closed on 22nd March 1999 with “Shakespeare In Love”, “A Night at the Roxbury” and “Patch Adams”. It stood empty for several years, and was demolished in the summer of 2003. A Hotel Ibis has been built on the site.
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