ABC Westover Bournemouth

27 Westover Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 2BZ

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, MGM Theatres, Odeon Cinemas Group

Architects: William Riddell Glen

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Westover Super Cinema, Westover Cinema, Cannon, MGM

Nearby Theaters

ABC Bournemouth

The Westover Super Cinema was built for and operated by Associated British Cinemas(ABC), and was designed by their ‘in-house’ architect William Riddle Glen. It opened on 19th June 1937 with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "Shall We Dance".

It was located adjacent to the Westover Palace Cinema, which closed the night before the new Westover Super opened. Designed in a striking Art Deco style, seating was arranged for 1,605 in the stalls and 910 in the circle levels. The cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Rank theatre organ which was opened by noted organist Reginald Porter-Brown. There was also a restaurant and a balcony cafe for the convenience of patrons.

On 31st May 1951, the World Premiere of the British musical film "Happy Go Lovely" starring Vera Ellen & David Niven was held at the Westover Cinema. The premiere was attended by film stars Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon, Googie Withers and music hall artist George Robey. Also in 1951, the UK Premiere of the MGM film "Showboat" starring Howard Keel was held here. In March 1958, the Westover Cinema was re-named ABC.

On 24th September 1969, the ABC was closed for twinning, re-opening on 13th June 1970 with 644 seats in the former circle (ABC 1 which is equipped for 70mm presentations) and 982 seats in the former stalls (ABC2). The re-opening films were "Paint Your Wagon" and "All the Way Up". The cinema had been given a ‘modern’ look in both auditoriums, with curtained walls and ‘modern’ new facade over the entrance hid the original Art Deco style frontage.

The ABC 2 screen was closed in January 1973 for twinning and re-opened on 19th April 1973 with seating for 587 and 223 seats in a new ABC 3. The ABC was taken over by the Cannon Group and re-named Cannon in late-1983. In May 1992 it came under the control of MGM and was re-branded with that name.

This was not to last long and the name ABC returned to the building when a management buy-out was completed in 1996. In 2000 the ABC came under the control of Odeon Cinemas Group. Odeon also operate the former Gaumont in the town. They closed the ABC on 4th January 2017 with a special screening of “Back to the Future”.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

terry on July 31, 2017 at 5:22 am

Very sad that a cinema of this calibre has been sacrificed for yet another soulless multiplex…….

ABCboi64 on August 4, 2017 at 3:59 am

The developers have submitted plans for the demolition of the ABC cinema Bournemouth. If anyone would care to submit their thoughts to the planners on this matter the application number is 7-2017-1685L and the dead line for your submissions is 25-08-2017. Sorry I am unable to send a link to Bournemouth Borough Council’s planning website, but if someone can then that would be helpful. Thank you.

ABCboi64 on August 25, 2017 at 6:53 am

Today is the last day (25/August) to submit your thoughts to the planning section of Bournemouth Borough Council about the proposed demolition of the ABC cinema in Bournemouth.

CF100 on December 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Planning application no. 7-2017-1685-L was refused by Bournemouth Council.

CF100 on December 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Video of the final screening.

Does anybody know what music is used in the “montage” sequence at the start, and in edited form, in the ABC policy trailer after? Fantastic stuff, excellent composition and arrangement, perfect to set the mood…

Zappomatic on December 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

That would be Score by Richard Myhill.

CF100 on December 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Awesome, thank you very much!

Can’t find any CD copies, but it’s available in HQ via digital download/streaming including Spotify.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 3, 2022 at 11:52 am

At 16:30 on Friday 2nd September 2022 the former ABC cinema was damaged in an arson attack.

CP200 on January 31, 2023 at 8:26 am

^ squatters as i doubt any of those that go around videoing achieving these cinemas would do that .

CP200 on January 31, 2023 at 8:30 am

update word is abc is being presently gutted as insider tells me . odoen formally owned abc is also now in green light for flat renovation which maybe completed by 2025/26

at least the old cinema building won’t be totally demolished as once planed .

the facial for grand gaumont odeon will remain intact as new lobby for the new flats

guess the pigeons now will have to vacate

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