Regal Cinema

Francis Street,
Newtownards, BT23

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Only a few months after the sale of the Palace Cinema in Francis Street to Union Cinemas, another cinema opened in the same street; this occurred around 10th June 1935. The location of the site (including street number) remains unknown to this researcher as do any details of the building itself but it appears, on the face of it, to have been a conversion of existing premises. Nothing has been seen which would shed some light on its owner, E.G. Smith (G. Smith, in the Belfast and Ulster Street Directory entries).

The Regal Cinema appears to have dispensed with the customary “Grand Opening” and when it closed, around 12th June 1937, it was, again, without ceremony. Advertisements for the Regal Cinema’s programme appeared regularly throughout the period of its operation in the County Down Spectator; its final advert gave no hint of any impending closure.

For most of its brief life, it opened soon after the Palace Cinema closure, the Regal Cinema had enjoyed no direct competition in the town. However, within a few months of the Ritz Cinema (the Palace Cinema’s replacement) opening the Regal Cinema closed its doors. The realisation that competition would further intensify (a new cinema, the Regent Cinema, had been announced for Regent Street) must have convinced E.G. Smith that closure was the only viable option.

Contributed by Torchlight
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