ABC Aldershot

28 High Street,
Aldershot, GU11 1DJ

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ritzman on April 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

New photo added of Cat Stevens on stage in 1967

ritzman on December 2, 2019 at 7:48 am

New photo added showing the fan shaped outline of the auditorium. Internally, the auditorium was only slightly wider in the rear stalls compared to at the proscenium. An internal exit stairway from the circle ran down both sides of the auditorium and emerged either side of the stage out to street level. The Ritz/ABC was built on a sloping site with the stage at the lowest point so no site excavation was required to acheive a rake for the stalls. Only the organ chambers were below the front stalls level. On the rear wall of the stage was a small chamber that projected beyond the rear wall to accommodate the sound horn behind the screen. Although there is no standard fly tower, there was a grid above the stage for stage lighting battens and the house tabs could be flown upwards rather than opening to each side of the screen but this was rarely done as there was also rise & fall festoon tabs for stage presentations. On the roof near the front there are 2 white ‘cabins’ either side of the projection suite exhaust outlets – but I have no idea what they were used for!

ritzman on January 25, 2017 at 4:01 pm

5 new photos added of the original auditorium & projection suite and remains of the original auditorium – descriptions with each photo.

ritzman on January 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm

There is some good news about the art deco plaster work features of the old auditorium. Contrary to popular belief – including my own – it would appear that the original Verity & Beverley interior still survives behind the panels of the 3 screens formed in the former circle area. The conversion that occurred 40 years ago this year was really the construction of a ‘box’ structure within the space. A friend has managed to gain (lawful) access to the former cinema areas. There is a gap of about 10' between the box construction and the old auditorium. In this gap the splay wall decorative grilles survive albeit the faux balcony fronts have been removed. The original ceiling decoration is also intact in the majority. The original projection room survives intact, even the twin deck record player is still in the projection suite. The suite is quite large & the projection port holes are still in place but look into the void above the box construction of the 3 studio cinemas. The original stage & lighting switch gear is also still there too. The original balcony front was extended forward to form the largest cinema of the 3 created. This cinema uses the upper part of the original proscenium opening for the screen area. The 2 other cinemas were formed in rear circle areas , 1 either side. The new projection room was built at the back of the old circle which is below the original projection suite. The throw from the original suite was too steep to serve the new main screen. I have added photos of what remains in this void area. My friend only had his mobile phone on him so the photos are not of high quality but give detail of what is there.

ritzman on July 13, 2016 at 11:38 pm

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

ritzman on July 8, 2016 at 9:22 am

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 June 2, 2016 at 5:47 am

3 further photos added

ritzman on June 2, 2016 at 5:39 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 May 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

9 New interior photos added of auditorium & entrance foyer

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 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 June 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

1 more photo added

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 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

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

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 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 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 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?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

Vintage photographs of the Ritz Cinema, and its Wurlitzer organ console:

Ian on April 30, 2006 at 10:42 pm

Exterior photos of the cinema under Cannon here :–

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Tod on December 5, 2005 at 12:56 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:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 9, 2005 at 9:39 am

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.