ABC Aldershot

28 High Street,
Aldershot, GU11 1DJ

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Easter Parade

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 19 comments)

ritzman on June 18, 2014 at 1:28 am

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

ritzman on June 20, 2014 at 7:05 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 7:11 pm

1 more photo added

ritzman on October 19, 2014 at 3:01 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 21, 2015 at 2:34 am

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 6:39 pm

9 New interior photos added of auditorium & entrance foyer

ritzman on June 2, 2016 at 8:39 am

5 new photos added including a letter to the purchaser of the Wurlitzer organ from Joseph Seal Director of music at ABC Cinemas in 1969

ritzman on June 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

3 further photos added

ritzman on July 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Further 2 photos added on the photo tab: Rare colour photos of the exterior neon display at the time of opening in May 1937

ritzman on July 14, 2016 at 2:38 am

New photo added of the Ritz Wurlitzer with Richard Dimbleby at the console.

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