ABC Aldershot

28 High Street,
Aldershot, GU11 1DJ

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Ritz/ABC Aldershot

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A classic Art Deco style cinema which opened as the Ritz Cinema on 13th May 1937 with Peter Lorre in “Crack Up” and Rochelle Hudson in Woman Wise". It was built by the Union Cinemas chain who were taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in October 1937. It originally had a Wurlitzer 3Manual/7Ranks organ (with illuminated console and grand piano) installed, which was opened by organist Harold Ramsay.

The Ritz Theatre was built to compete with the Empire Cinema next door. Like the Empire Cinema, it staged variety shows as well as movies and in the mid-1960’s staged pop shows starring Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, etc. In February 1961 it was re-named ABC.

It was closed on 28th May 1977 for conversion into a 3-screen cinema and a bingo club. ABC 1,2,3 opened 6th October 1977 with seating provided for 313, 187 and 150. In 1986 it was taken over by the Cannon Group and was re-named Cannon in late-1986. Taken over by Cineven it became the Odeon but was closed on 10th July 2003. The final films were “Charlie’s Angels-Full Throttle”, “Bruce Almighty” and “Fast & Furious”. This is a fine example of an Art Deco style provincial ‘super cinema’ worthy of preservation. The Gala Bingo Club remains open in 2015.

Contributed by Mike Luck

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

ritzman on January 1, 2013 at 5:52 am

12 photos added under the photo tab. Anybody have an photos of the original single screen auditorium pre conversion to 3 screens?

ritzman on January 1, 2013 at 5:56 am

Can we please have this listed as the Ritz Theatre please? The Ritz was only renamed Odeon after it came under the control of Cineven when they bought the revived ABC brand in the late 1990’s The original Odeon (formerly County Cinemas Empire Theatre) was next door!

ritzman on October 21, 2013 at 10:14 am

Here is a link to YouTube and an interview with the last projectionist. This is 1 of 3 films and interestingly has some shots of some of the decorative plaster on the ceiling of the rear circle that became the new projection box after conversion from single screen to bingo and 3 screens in the former circle.All 3 films are worth a watch just to see how poor the projection facilities were after conversion:

ritzman on May 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm

2 New photos uploaded:original auditorium before brutal butchering into 3 screens and bingo.

ritzman on June 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Another shot of the original Verity & Beverly designed auditorium in the photo section.

ritzman on June 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm

4 new photos added: Jimmy Hendrix, Roy Orbison, Jasper Bartwell at the Ritz Wurlitzer & pop show poster from 1960’s

ritzman on June 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

1 more photo added

ritzman on October 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm

New photo added. Still named Ritz but under ABC control. Easter Parade showing, and exterior of the cinema decorated for the opening of the film – complete with military band.

ritzman on May 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm

A short little film about the Ritz showing rare colour shots of the original auditorium and the entrance foyer:

ritzman on May 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

9 New interior photos added of auditorium & entrance foyer

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater