Cannon Southampton

127 Above Bar,
Southampton, SO14 7FH

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ABC Cinema 2

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built for Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and designed by their in-house architect William R. Glen, the Forum Cinema opened 22nd June 1935. It had 1,909 seats in stalls and circle together with a cafe, there was also a stage (48 feet wide proscenium) and seven dressing rooms. Decorative grilles were prominent either side and above the stage opening, concealing the pipes for the Compton 3Manual/10Ranks organ – one of the first instruments with the Melotone unit which became standard subsequently.

The Forum Cinema was damaged during the war and was closed for several months.

In 1971 it closed for 5 months to allow twinning to take place Screen 1 had 688 seats and Screen 2 had 439. A third screen was added in 1981 in the former cafe, but this was not a success and closed in 1989 – this had just 83 seats, a low ceiling and was video projection.

The rest of the cinema – now re-named Cannon – closed in 1991. After a period of disuse it was converted into a large bar in around 2000, known as the Square Balloon.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 16, 2007 at 9:42 pm

I rated the ABC FORUM as the best in presentation, followed by the GAUMONT (former Empire), Rank’s PLAZA then Rank’s ODEON.

Does anybody know of or have a complete list of all of the (many long-gone)cinemas and theaters in the greater Southampton area?

Thanks; Simon Overton in Long Beach, California

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 16, 2007 at 9:47 pm

I rated the ABC FORUM as the best in presentation, followed by the GAUMONT (former Empire), Rank’s PLAZA then Rank’s ODEON.

Does anybody know of or have a complete list of all of the (many long-gone)cinemas and theaters in the greater Southampton area?

Thanks; Simon Overton in Long Beach, California

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Here is another exterior view.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 7, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Address: 127 Above Bar Street.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Notes from “100 Years of Cinema in Southampton” by Patrick Hayward;
Best known as the Forum Cinema, they often shared films with their sister" ABC’S Broadway in Portswood.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

More of Patrick Hayward’s notes; Noted entertainers to grace the (former) Forum’s stage from 1962 on were Helen Shapiro, Billy Fury & Marty Wilde, Cliff Richard, Billy J. Kramer, The Kinks, The Yard Birds, Cilla Black, The Bachelors and handsome American sensation Gene Pitney.
The final live stage show was The Walker Brothers in 1966. However, I personally remember attending an all-seats-sold, “New Year’s Eve Concert,” provided by England’s master Big-Band leader Ted Heath. I had a ringing sound in my ears for days but the music was the best!

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