Odeon Aldershot

High Street,
Aldershot, GU11 1DJ

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Today as Gala Bingo

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A classic Art Deco style cinema which opened as the Ritz Cinema on 15th May 1937. It was built by Union Theatres who were taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in October 1937. It originally had a Wurlitzer 3Maual/7Ranks organ installed which was opened by 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.

It was split into three screens in the 1970’s. It was listed to close in July 2003. This is a fine example of an Art Deco style provincial ‘super cinema’ worthy of preservation.

Contributed by Mike Luck

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

KenRoe
KenRoe on July 9, 2005 at 12:39 pm

When the Ritz/ABC was split into 3 screens in 1977 they were located in the former balcony and seated 313, 187 and 150. The former orchestra stalls level was converted into a bingo hall.

These 3 screens were re-branded Odeon in 2002 and closed on 10th July 2003. The space has been gutted, but the Gala Bingo Club is currently still open in the former stalls level.

Tod
Tod on December 5, 2005 at 3:56 am

The old Ritz/Odeon needs your help to survive as it is under immediate threat of demolition.
Please see our campaign page for details:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/G181

Ian
Ian on May 1, 2006 at 1:42 am

Exterior photos of the cinema under Cannon here :–

View link

View link

KenRoe
KenRoe on October 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Vintage photographs of the Ritz Cinema, and its Wurlitzer organ console:
http://www.ukwurlitzer.co.cc/2206.html

ritzman
ritzman on January 1, 2013 at 8:52 am

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

ritzman
ritzman on January 1, 2013 at 8:56 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
ritzman on October 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

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: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m-t1iry3eSk

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