Cannon Liverpool

Lime Street,
Liverpool, L1

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Forum Cinema

Opened as the Forum Cinema on 16th May 1931 with Clifford Mollison in “Almost A Honeymoon”. It was designed by William R. Glen and Alfred Ernest Shennan for Associated British Cinemas(ABC) at a cost in excess of 200,000 pounds.

A massive six-storey curved Portland stone facade remains a distinctive and highly prominent feature of Lime Street – one of Liverpool’s major thoroughfares. The foyer was lined with Italian marble.

The auditorium, in a semi-Atmospheric style, depicted Venetian scenes, contains an amazing proscenium treatment consisting of a vast curved canopy over the arch and the side boxes. Indirect light light was a feature, except for a huge ‘sunburst’ light fitting above the balcony.

A shallow stage was provided together with a Compton 3Manual/12Ranks organ on a lift in front of the stage, which was opened by organist Reginald Foort.

Because of the relatively small width of the site the 1,835 capacity was achieved by having a huge circle containing 750 of the seats.

It was re-named ABC from 17th February 1971 and due to its opulence and excellent location the cinema survived intact until 1982 when it was converted to a three screen operation by installing two mini-cinemas under the balcony seating 272 and 217 seats.

From 1986 it had been re-named Cannon. It closed on 29th January 1998 with a special screening of Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”, when a special admission fee of 50p was charged.

There were proposals to convert the building into a conference centre, but these stalled and the building has stood empty since closing. Proposals were put forward in late-2007 to convert it into a ‘boutique’ hotel and supper club, with plans going to Liverpool City Council in July 2008 and if permission was granted, work could start in late-2008. The building remained unused and was de-tripled in 2016.

It is Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

DrMrEcho on February 25, 2007 at 7:34 pm

Liverpool desperately needs a Beatles theatre for putting on shows,talks and films for the 1000’s of tourists who visit each year. Either the Forum or the Futurist seem like a no brainer to fulfill such a role. Why then are they in this state?!?

HowardBHaas on December 5, 2007 at 1:25 am

Scaffolding being removed:
View link

Davell on July 30, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Projectors were Ross with RCA sound. Light was provided by Peerless Magnarc. Later Philips FP20s were used.

AdoraKiaOra on September 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Is this the big cinema behind The Empire Theatre. If not what is the huge place i see on Google maps?

fatbarry2000 on January 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm


The place directly behind the Empire Theatre is the former Odeon – it was closed in 2008. The Forum is at the other end of Lime Street – as you move down it you can see the railway station roof on the right. Immediately after the station is a single square tower block, and opposite this diagonally is a large building with a curved front (in the image I can see on Google Maps there is a red bus and a green/white bus turning right in front of the building). This is the old Forum cinema.

This map shows a few of the Cinemas on/around Lime Street (best seen in Satellite View).

TLSLOEWS on August 26, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Great Lime Steet photo smoothie.

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on March 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Please click on photos for 3 more pictures.

Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on January 28, 2017 at 6:25 am

It was one of the sites used for the Liverpool Biennial of 2016. It’s been de-tripled and all the ground floor seating has gone. Apart from damage caused by the de-tripling, the interior is in a sorry state, with an alarming hole in the ceiling. The public were not allowed to go upstairs.

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