ABC Wellingborough

Midland Road,
Wellingborough, NN8

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ABC Cinema

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Located in the Northamptonshire town of Wellingborough. The Lyric Cinema was opened on 14th December 1936 with Edmund Lowe in “Seven Sinners” and Richard Dix in “The Devil’s Squadron”. The Lyric Cinema was equipped with a Compton 2Manual/5Ranks organ, which had an illuminated console on a lift, and was opened by organist Neville Turner. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 40 feet wide, the fully equipped stage was 20 feet deep and there were fifteen dressing rooms. The cinema also had a cafe for the convenience of its patrons.

The Lyric Cinema staged its first live presentation on 11th January 1937, when the pantomime “Aladdin” was staged for a two week run. The Lyric Cinema was taken over by the Mayfair Circuit in 1941, and in around 1942, they became part of the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain.

In the 1950’s the stage was used for local productions, and in the 1960’s it began use for one-night pop shows of major stars. In 1965, it was re-named ABC.

The ABC was closed on 9th April 1969 with Tommy Steele in “The Happiest Millionaire”. The building was leased to the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain, and they immediately converted it into a Star Bingo Club. This closed on 26th April 1975, and the building was demolished three weeks in the middle of May 1975. The site became part of the new Arndale shopping centre, now known as the Swansgate Centre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

PaulB52
PaulB52 on May 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

The Compton organ was removed to Wellingborough Technical Grammar School (later Weavers School). It has subsequently, around 2008, been removed to Bilston Town Hall, restored and modified and use for dance music.

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