Fairworld Film Centre

Raby Road,
Hartlepool, TS24

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circle foyer in 1937

Located in West Hartlepool, Cleveland. Opened by Asociated British Cinemas(ABC) as the Forum Cinema on 27th February 1937. Seating was provided for 1,160 in the stalls and 772 in the circle.

It was re-named ABC in 1963, later becoming part of the EMI Group. It was taken over by an independent operator in February 1976 and was renamed Fairworld Film Centre. It was closed on 1st May 1983 and the building became derelict, being demolished in 1997.

Contributed by Oly Sproxton

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

jbn6773 on December 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Demolished in 1997, Morrisons Supermarket car park now occupies the site

JRG on October 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Rest assured the photographs listed are of the FORUM Hartlepool. I managed the cinema for the Fair World group from 1976. I suspect that the photographs listed were taken during the late 1930s Very few changes were made to the cinema over the years.

terry on April 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm

The photo at the top of the main page is definitely not of the ABC Forum proscenium and whilst I was never based at the theatre I did carry out managerial relief duties there for ABC in the 1970’s. The Front Of House and two foyer photos are certainly of the ABC Forum.

I shall ask Bill Mather,retired former CEO of Fairworld Cinemas, to look at the auditorium shot to give a second opinion.

wmr on April 11, 2015 at 2:32 am

twmr on April 9, 2015 at 10:25 am (remove) Further to “Terry” April 1st, I can also confirm that the auditorium to the stage area is NOT of our former Cinema. The proscenium was certainly much wider than this one and also at the top of the proscenium were vent grills for heating from the plenum system. The side splays owards the stage are also incorrect and the proscenium did not have curved top as shown. There had been an “Organ Chamber” built to the right of the proscenium and this cinema was obviously intended to have an organ which did not emanate. I have the original “House Book” of the Cinema from 1949 still and for readers interest the CinemaScope size was 33'6" wide by 17'9" in height. There were also 3 dimmer colours for the proscenium alcoves installed for opening in 1937, (which are missing from the photo supplied). When FairWorld took the Cinema in February 1976 I put a new screen in at a width of 36'6"x 17'9" and we could not have possibly a screen size of that by the photo shown purporting to be of ex: ABC Hartlepool. As an added piece of history of the cinema I also completely re-seated the Circle with seating purchased from Rank Equipment and also a new set of screen tabs, and I had a long play tower installed and sound system (transistorised) and was “Cinemacanica”. As an added piece of nostalgia I still have the plans drawn up by “Modernisation Ltd” of Batley,Yorkshire, who I engaged for all my cinemas of FairWorld as Director of Cinemas, for a 4screen operation. My intention was 3 screens in the stalls area, with the main number 1 screen being the original in the circle. I also had purchased (from a cinema operator in the Midlands), 70mm projectors which was intended to be added to the new Film Centre operation.Unfortunately due to the apathy of the cinemagoing public the FairWorld Directors in their wisdom(or lack of it), overuled me and common business sense prevailing at that time in 1983 when admissions were dropping so far, I was given a stark choice resuting in my decision to cease operations on May 1st 1983, when the last film shown was “The Beastmaster” which was ironically released by “EMI Film Distributors(the previous owners of course operating as “ABC Cinemas”).

I trust cinema buffs will appreciate this added information of what was a really well built cinema of that era of which I was so proud to have acquired from “EMI” on behalf of the FairWorld Cinema division of which is no more as indeed “FairWorld Ltd” is no more.

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