ABC Maidstone

56 King Street,
Maidstone, ME14 1BW

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Located in Maidstone, Kent. The Central Picture Playhouse was opened on 7th February 1921 with 1,250 seats. It was designed in a Tudor Revival style by architectural firm Ruck & Smith. It was equipped with a 3Manual church type organ and had an orchestra to accompany the silent films. It also had a tea room for the convenience of its patrons.

The Central Picture Playhouse was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain on 3rd October 1935, and they were taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in October 1937. The Central Picture playhouse was closed on 26th June 1955 when it was damaged by a fire.

It was reconstructed to the plans of architects C.J. Foster & R.J. Westaway, and re-opened with Gregory Peck in “Moby Dick” on 10th December 1956 as the Ritz Cinema (not to be confused with the towns' other Ritz Cinema which was also a Union Cinemas cinema, and had been destroyed by a fire in January 1954). Seating was provided for 1,270, with 869 in the stalls and 401 in the circle. It was re-named ABC in 1962 (not to be confused with the former Granada Theatre which was last re-named ABC). The ABC was closed on 5th October 1974 with “Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires”. It was converted into a bingo club.

It was demolished in 1980 and a Boots store was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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