ABC Clifton Bristol
44 Whiteladies Road,
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Located in the Clifton district, close to Bristol city centre. The Whiteladies Picture House opened on 29th November 1921 with Mary Pickford in “Pollyanna”. The original seating capacity was for 1,314 in stalls and circle. The building retained part of a nunnery, which used to stand on the site. The early-Art Deco style cinema still has its original ballroom, which doubled as the luxurious Rendezvous cafe-restaurant.
It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in August 1929. In 1957, it was closed for a while, to enable the circle to be enlarged, giving a new seating capacity of 1,411. In 1959, it was modernised internally.
It was re-named ABC in 1965, and in the Summer of 1978, it was converted into a triple screen cinema. Later renamed Cannon, then MGM, it reverted back to ABC in around 1999.
Odeon Theatres, who purchased the ABC chain in 2000, closed this cinema in 2001 and planned on converting the beloved movie house into a gymnasium. A groundswell of public opposition to the new use led to a Public Inquiry which refused planning permission. The building sits empty, awaiting a more suitable use.
It has been a Grade II Listed building since 1999. Unfortunately, despite the listing, British law does not fully protect the alterations or demolitions of cinemas.
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