Regal Cinema

35 Shaftesbury Street,
Fordingbridge, SP6 1JF

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Regal Fordingbridge

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Located in Fordingbridge, Hampshire. The Picture House was operating prior to 1934. It had 250 seats and a 20 feet wide proscenium. By 1937, it had been re-named Regal Cinema. By 1944, under the ownership of Harold Baim, it was re-named Glendale Theatre.

By 1947, another change of ownership returned the Regal Cinema name. Operated by Constellation Cinemas which also operated the Plaza Cinema, Lyndhurst, in the nearby New Forest, both very much small town cinemas.

Information about the Regal Cinema is hard to come by but the Kine Yearbook for 1951 informs us that it had BTH equipment, 223 seats and performances were non-continuous, not surprising when the poulation of Fordingbridge was around 3,500 at the time.

By 1963, it was operated by Haggar’s Cinemas Ltd., and they are still listed as operators in the 1966 edition of Kine Yearbook, possible closing in late-1965. The exact closure date is not known, but from 1966 until the early-2010’s it was used by Branksome Pottery, to manufacture and sell their own special brand of porcelain tableware.

In late-2016 work began to convert the Regal Cinema into flats which will include a 30-seat cinema (located in the former rear stalls). It re-opened on 30th June 2017 with a screening of “Casablanca”.

Contributed by John Thornley

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

KitGreen
KitGreen on August 8, 2016 at 6:27 am

There are plans to “restore” the building as a mix of residential and cinema use. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14664875.Plans_to_revive_cinema_which_closed_more_than_50_years_ago_set_to_get_go_ahead/

DavidSimpson
DavidSimpson on July 8, 2017 at 1:22 pm

The Regal was purchased by Brian Currie, owner of Fordingbridge-based Corintech electronics company. He hoped the flats that have been constructed within it will help him recruit young engineers who would otherwise struggle to secure accommodation.

Happily, his £1m scheme included the 30-seat cinema, which is located immediately behind the entrance foyer, where the rear stalls would have been. There are five rows, each with six very comfortable, nicely raked seats. Projection is from DVD/Blu-ray, with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems, complete with motorised masking. A separate bar has been constructed at the left hand side of the building. I gather there are plans for an outdoor seating area.

Just about the only reminder of the ‘old’ Regal is the external ladder to the former projection room, on the right hand side of the building.

Mr Currie originally hoped to open the new Regal at the end of May 2017, although that was never a firm date. In the event, it opened on Friday 30th June, with screenings of the classic thriller “Casablanca” that day, Saturday and Sunday.

The cinema is operated as the Fordingbridge Regal Cinema Club, with admission restricted to members and guests, and with tickets only available on-line, not on the door. I arrived mid-afternoon on the Sunday. I tried to make contact beforehand, but without success, so I simply turned up. By sheer chance, there was just one ticket still available for the matinee screening, and an extremely kind volunteer arranged for his wife, who was at home nearby, to purchase that ticket on-line for me! So I was able to enjoy “Casablanca” with a packed, enthusiastic audience.

This weekend was something of a ‘try-out’, with all seats priced at £4.50. There will then be a gap before the full programme, with three films to be screened each weekend, starts in August. Seats will then cost £9.00.

The volunteers were extremely welcoming, and they clearly have a great passion for this community cinema. I wish all concerned all the best for this splendid venture.

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