Classic Southampton

98 Above Bar,
Southampton, SO14 7DT

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Classic Cinemas (UK)

Architects: Alister Gladstone MacDonald

Functions: Restaurant

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Cinenews

Nearby Theaters

Classic Southampton.

Quite a few of Southampton’s cinemas were designed and/or built by builders Brasier & Sons, Ltd., this and the ABC Forum and Ritz Cinema were noted for their excellent brick composition.

Originally owned by Capitol and Provincial News Theatres, Ltd., this compact auditorium offered a small flat square screen and poor sight lines due to a few columns holding up the small upstairs cafe. It was designed by architect Alister G. Macdonald and A.J. Steal.

Mayor Harry Chick presided over the Cinenews grand opening on March 12th, 1937. The facade had Neon tubing up and around the edges of the facade with the theaters name, also in Neon on a double sided tall cylindrical barrel.

In April 1938, its name and programming changed to the Classic Cinema and offering full length movies being "Keep Your Seats Please" starring the Uke-playing/singing, always happy chap George (When I’m Cleaning Windows) Formby.

Bombed, like other theaters and cinemas in the city during the Blitz of the 1940’s, another temporary entrance was quickly constructed in adjacent shops and the show went on regardless of the problems.

A second baby screen was added above the foyer in the 1970’s which offered films with a continental adult flavor and this place was generally known as the Tatler Private Cinema. The Classic Cinema closed in January 1978.

Today, instead of showing films the auditorium houses a Burger King restaurant.

Contributed by Simon Overton

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Notes from “100 Years of Cinema in Southampton” by Patrick Hayward; Prior to the 1939 outbreak of WW2, this house was also known as the Cinenews Theatre being one of the final purpose built cinemas of the 1930’s including Swaythling’s Savoy Cinema.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Cinema historian, Reg Goldsmith (86) of Totton, informs me that the Classic had beautiful red floral velvet traveler curtains.

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