ABC Market Harborough

4-6 Northampton Road,
Market Harborough, LE16 9HE

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Union Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: William T. Benslyn, Ernest F. Tulley

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Ritz Cinema

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News About This Theater

Ritz Cinema

The Ritz Cinema was the last to be planned by the Union Cinemas circuit, as they were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1938. ABC completed the building and opened it on 22 May 1939 with Sabu in "The Drum".

The Ritz Cinema led an uneventful life, with CinemaScope being fitted rather late in 1955. It became the ABC in 1961 and soon began a policy of part time bingo/part time films. The cinema closed on 25th April 1978 with Bruce Lee in "Fist of Fury. It was leased to Silverline Entertainments and became a bingo club. It remained on bingo until 1982 when it was closed.

Suggestions were made to save the building for entertainment use possibly as a theatre, but these came to nothing and the building was converted into a Kwiksave supermarket. This closed in 2007 and again there were voices being raised locally to bring cinema use back to the building. However there were plans put forward to re-develop the site for housing and a retail unit. It was demolished in early-November 2012, and flats have been built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

CSWalczak on November 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm

An interior view of the ABC Market Harborough can be seen here.

David Rayner
David Rayner on December 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

It was an ABC long before 1971. Here it is in a newsreel clip from June, 1958.

goodshow on December 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I think the previous correspondent (Mr.Rayner) means 1961 referred to in the main text rather than 1971, but the link doesn’t work and we would need the video title of sorts to get round the problem.

In any event from from the first paragraph of the profile, it’s claimed that the cinema was an ABC from the outset in 1939. Probably the new DESIGN of logo was introduced in 1961 then?

What we do have is this old Market Harborough view from the 1950s showing the old design of logo on each side of the main structure

David Rayner
David Rayner on December 27, 2015 at 2:01 am

I don’t know why the YouTube link for the British Pathe newsreel clip doesn’t work where you are, as it works fine for me. I know you can’t click on it from here, it has to be copied and pasted into your browser and then click on it there or just press enter. Anyway, if that still doesn’t work, go onto YouTube and put the words England Under Water (1958) into their search engine and if that still doesn’t work, then maybe they clip can’t be seen outside the UK.

DavidRayner1947 on January 19, 2017 at 3:59 am

I have captured and uploaded a frame from the Pathe News newsreel item, showing the ABC Ritz, Market Harborough, in June, 1958, surrounded by flood water, while showing Tommy Steele in “The Duke Wore Jeans”.

DavidRayner1947 on January 19, 2017 at 7:42 am

I’m not sure exactly when in the early 1960s the ABC sign on cinemas went from a triangle to the three lozenges design, but I have a complete set of ABC Film Review magazines from the first issue in 1950 to the early 1970s and the first issue to feature the three lozenges design on the cover was that for December, 1963, although I feel sure that when the new ABC Cine-Bowl in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, opened in August, 1963, the new design was on the front of the building.

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