ABC New Street
88 New Street,
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Originally built as the Masonic Hall, it was screening films as early as 1896. It was converted into a full time cinema known as the Theatre de Luxe in July 1910. It was re-named Regent Cinema in 1922.
Taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in late-1929. They employed their ‘in house’ architect W.R. Glen to design a modern cinema within the existing walls. Despite its very narrow entrance on New Street, it was a very grand cinema, with 501 seats in the stalls, 348 in the circle, and 410 in the upper circle. Having an upper circle was very unusual in cinema design in the United Kingdom. The upper circle was at a very steep angle. The Forum Cinema was opened on 1st November 1930 with Edna Best in “Loose Ends” and Leslie Fuller in “Kiss Me Sergeant”. It was equipped with a Compton 2Manual/8Ranks theatre organ, with its console on the stage at the right hand side. The organ was removed from the building in 1955. The cinema held many midnight matinee performances.
The Forum Cinema was re-named ABC in 1961. It was closed on 9th April 1983 with “ET”. The foyer was converted into an amusement arcade, and part of the stalls became retail use. The upper parts of the building were abandoned. The amusement arcade was closed in 2013, and in February 2016 plans were proposed to convert the space into a restaurant. The exterior of the building is Grade II Listed.
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