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Located in the small market town of Sherborne, Dorset. The Wessex Cinema was opened on 18th December 1929, but due to technical problems, it didn’t screen its first film “Hungarian Rhapsody” until 20th December 1929. The exterior was in a Tudor beam style, in keeping with may other older buildings in the town. The auditorium had wall panels that had hand painted hunting and country scenes. The proscenium was 24 feet wide, the stage 20 feet deep, and there were five dressing rooms.
In 1930 was taken over by new owners Percy Carter & a Mr. Pilkington, who renamed it Carlton Cinema (derived from their surnames), and they installed a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system. As well as films, the cinema was used for productions by the Sherborne Operatic and Dramatic Society.
The Carlton Cinema was closed on 2nd February 1961 with Frank Sinatra in “The Pride and the Passion”. It remained as an empty, unused building until it was demolished in 1989. The land is now used as a car park for the Summerfield supermarket which was built at the rear.
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