Kirkgate and Sun Lane,
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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.
Architects: William Riddell Glen
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Regal Cinema, Cannon
News About This Theater
- Dec 25, 2007 — ABC Wakefield uncovered
The Regal Cinema was designed by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in-house architect William R. Glen, and opened on 9th December 1935. It has a town centre location on Kirkgate at the corner of Sun Lane facing into, and visible from, the town centre.
Not as large as some later ABC houses the Regal Cinema accommodated 1,594 but had a full stage 26 feet deep behind the 43 feet wide proscenium. The interior was rather plainer than many of Glen’s cinema designs with concealed lighting under the balcony and at the rear of the ceiling and pendant fittings casting light upwards towards the front of the cinema.
It was renamed ABC in 1962 and became a triple operation from 11th November 1976 with screen 1 seating 532 in the balcony using the original screen and projection suite and screen 2 (236 seats) and 3 (170 seats) in the rear stalls area.
It was taken over by Cannon Cinemas chain in April 1986, and was renamed Cannon. It closed in 1997 as the ABC following the Cineplex multi-screen cinema opening in December 1996 and has been empty and ‘For Sale’. A covenant restricting its use to film exhibition has been the reason the site has not been redeveloped or alternative uses found for the ever deteriorating building. The building was acquired by Wakefield Council. In late-July 2021, despite protests, the Council passed a resolution that the building would be demolished. It was planned to be demolished in March 2022, but after the roof of the auditorium was removed work was halted and was put on hold until early-January 2023 when demolition actually began.
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Recent comments (view all 14 comments)
Thanks for adding the link Ken. I’ve done a more detailed piece with extra pictures added here
I’d be especially keen to get some archive pictures of this place, With stories, recollections or more history for my article if anyone can help me out. I’d also like to hear from anyone what the last film was shown & why the cinema is so badly flooded.
Be SURE to follow the blog link posted above on Dec. 20. Fabulous—and sad—shots of this place.
Some more photos before closure here:–
Very sad shots in spite of the flooding this place could have easily been restored.
A view from the rear of the circle in 2009, twelve years after closing:
The last name this cinema was known by was the A B C.
I used to do managerial relief stints here in the 1970’s whilst based initially at A B C Wigan and subsequently A B C Huddersfield. This was still a single auditorium then with stalls and circle and the stage still had occasional use.
It looks like the time is finally up for this theatre - demolition signage has been put up and a contractor (Ron Hull Ltd) appointed with “commencing 2022” as a date. Four exterior photos taken in February here:-
CANNON WAKEFIELD - Facade
CANNON WAKEFIELD - Sun Lane shops
CANNON WAKEFIELD - rear
CANNON WAKEFIELD - side view / dressing rooms
Three images uploaded to photos section.
That covenant I 1997 when it closed sounds very much like an Odeon direction as they bought the chain and closed many cinemas as they thought the land value was more lucrative..plus to prevent a Competitor operating.. mind you the competition wouldn’t invest..just put up signage and use existing equipment until the lease ran out..shame