152 High Street,
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Maxime Cinema (Official)
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Art Deco
Designed by architect William S. Wort, the Maxime Cinema opened on 3rd July 1938 with 1,400 seats. It had a 30 feet wide proscenium, later widened to 45 feet for CinemaScope to the plans of architect David Evelyn Nye. Still listed as open in 1966, operating as an independent cinema. This was the most ramshackle of Blackwood’s cinemas that locals always referred to as the ‘fleapit’.
By 1976, it was operated by the Jackson Withers circuit and was running films and bingo. The Rank Organisation purchased the Jackson Withers circuit in late-1976. By 1980 the balcony had been twinned, with the two screens seating 194 and 170 and Rank also operating a Top Rank Bingo Club in the former stalls area. The 194 seat Screen 1 was closed 21st August 1982 and the 170-seat Screen 2 was closed on 25th October 1988. Top Rank Bingo continued downstairs. In 2009, it operated as a Mecca Bingo Club. Finally operating as a Top Ten Bingo Club, the building was sold in September 2013, with plans to convert into a five screen cinema.
Conversion work began in 2014, with a reopening on 5th August 2014. Screen 1 in the former front stalls has 235 seats, screens 2 & 3 in the former circle each have 110 seats and screen 5 in the former rear stalls has 72 seats. There is a licenced bar in the former circle foyer.
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