ABC Southport

Lord Street,
Southport, PR8

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: William Riddell Glen

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Regal Cinema

Nearby Theaters

ABC Regal Southport

Opened on 5th December 1938 with Ginger Rogers in “Vivacious Lady”, the Regal Cinema occupied an excellent site on Lord Street at the corner of Wellington Street in the resort. William R. Glen the architect was able to design the cinema to maximum capacity on a tight plot of land. At the rear of the cinema Cheshire Street had housing opposite the building.

The cinema survived through the fifties and sixties, presenting performances three times daily. Often showing films in the summer season ahead of national release.

Presentation on screen was to a high standard, from a projection box situated at the rear of the building over the rear of the Circle.

The cinema was equipped for 70mm presentations when new projection equipment was installed at the end of the Sixties.

The ABC (as it was called from 1962) was still a single screen, and its audiences had started to decline. All the signs were there, performances had been reduced to once nightly, matinees on selected days only. In the auditorium the chandelliers above the Circle audience were left off in an economy drive that made the visit to the cinema rather depressing.

The final film “Star Trek III” flickered across the screen on 1st September 1984. Demolition took place later in the summer of 1987, but the close proximety of the housing, meant the walls had to be knocked down with extreme care. A block of retirement flats were built on the site.

Contributed by Chris Leigh

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

keiths on January 8, 2006 at 3:50 pm

I remember seeing ‘My Fair Lady’ there in the mid 60’s – presented in 70mm of course! The picture and sound quality were second to none.

pressedtrousers on June 20, 2006 at 6:39 am

I was, and remain, very fond of this cinema. It was a once-grand building, with Art Deco touches, though by the time I started going there [1979] it was a little shabby and worn, though sound and picture quality remained very good – 70mm showings were a selling point, when the only competition in town was the smaller Classic [aka Cannon, aka ABC in later years] Cinema [considered a fleapit right up until its demise; a third cinema, the larger Odeon, was demolished in 1979 and the spot is now occupied by a Sainsburys].

Entrance was into the large, tall symmetrical open-plan foyer. On the far left by the doors was the merchandise stall, and to the far right was the ticket office. The interior decor seemed unchanged since it was built.

Ahead, again to left and right, were stairs up to a balcony level overlooking the foyer, where forthcoming attractions posters were displayed, and entry to the cinema was through the left-hand doors, up the darkened stairs and into the upper circle auditorium. When you exited, you came out on the right-hand doors.

Reduced audience numbers meant that the lower stalls were seldom opened to the public, and seating was restricted to the upper circle; the only time I remember them being open was for the bigger audiences that ET drew in 1982.

Indeed, the cinema seemed to show a great many mainstream films, and often had them booked in for long periods over summer holidays [i remember seeing Superman II, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Time Bandits, Footloose, Flash Gordon, Star Trek I & II, and Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, which was the last film they ever showed, in 1984].

When the cinema closed, it was demolished to make way for flats. To this day, I will bore anyone who asks with memories of childhood visits to this cinema. It’s a cherished memory.

gordonl on November 24, 2007 at 6:02 pm

And the Beatles played here (supporting Helen Shapiro in 1963)

TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Thanks Gordon and Phillip.

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