Cannon Belfast

1-11 Fisherwick Place,
Belfast, BT2 7AP

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Ritz Cinema Belfast

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built and operated by the Union Cinemas chain, the Ritz Cinema opened at Fisherwick Place in Belfast on 9th November 1936 with Gracie Fields attending the opening in person to launch the cinema with her film “Queen of Hearts”. It was a massive building in elegant Art Deco style seating 2,219.

The Ritz Cinema was early on given the nickname of “Ireland’s Wonder Cinema”. Besides a Compton 4Manual/10Rank (with Melotone attached) theatre organ and a cafe on the first floor, the Ritz Cinema featured live entertainment in addition to films, including a performance by The Beatles in 1963. It also had a restaurant which extended the width of the cinema behind the circle and this was also equipped with a maple floor, suitable for dancing.

Associated British Cinemas(ABC) circuit bought out Union Cinemas in 1938, and the cinema became known as the ABC from 1963. It was closed on 22nd September 1977 after an arson attack by fire bombs completely gutted the auditorium and the roof.

After standing as a wreck for several years, in 1981 it was sub-divided into a four-screener seating;551,444,281 and 215. Taken over by the Cannon Group in 1986 it was re-named Cannon. The Cannon closed on 1st July 1993. It was demolished in 1994, replaced by a hotel.

Contributed by Bryan, Ken Roe

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 2, 2007 at 2:53 am

The Ritz Cinema was equipped with a Compton 4Manual/10Ranks (with Melotone) theatre organ which was opened by Harold Ramsey. The opening date was 9th November 1936 and appearing on stage that night were Gracie Fields and Jack Hylton and his Band.

The architect Leslie H. Kemp was the main architect who worked in collaboration with E.F. Tulley & J.H. Lundy. The building was planned by the Lou Morris chain, but was taken over during construction by Union Cinemas. Union were taken over by Associated british Cinemas (ABC) in October 1937.

It continued with the Ritz name until 1963 when it was renamed ABC. It was closed on 22nd September 1977 when it was the victim of an arson attack by fire bombs. It eventually re-opened in 1981 as a 4-screen Cannon Cinema which was closed on 1st July 1993.

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