ABC Richmond

23 Sheen Road,
Richmond upon Thames, TW9 1BN

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Additional Info

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

Architects: Samuel Beverley, Leslie H. Kemp

Firms: Verity and Beverley

Styles: Art Deco, Neo-Georgian

Previous Names: Ritz Cinema

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Ritz Cinema

Located in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey, to the southwest of todays' Greater London. The Ritz Cinema was a project of Union Cinemas Ltd, but was actually opened by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) due to their take-over of Union. Designed by Samuel Beverley, working in association with Leslie H. Kemp, the Ritz Cinema was a luxury cinema building, fitting the rather affluent district of Richmond-upon-Thames.

The facade was designed in a Neo-Georgian style whilst the auditorium, which had seating for 1,456 in the stalls and 694 in the circle, was in a refined Art Deco style with prominent and elaborate grilles on the side walls, behind which were the chambers to the Wurlitzer 3Manual/8Ranks theatre organ, which was opened by organist Wilfred Southworth. The cinema also had a cafe-restaurant for the convenience of patrons and the general public.

The Ritz Cinema opened on 19th May 1938 with Grace Moore in "I’ll Take Romance" and John Barrymore in "Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge".

The Ritz Cinema was re-named ABC in 1961 and sadly closed on 11th December 1971 with Dirk Bogarde in "Death In Venice". The building was soon demolished and and office block named Spencer House was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 30, 2010 at 5:11 am

Vintage photographs of the Ritz/ABC, and its Wurlitzer organ console;

madorganplayer on February 16, 2012 at 5:05 am

The Ritz was destined to be their new flagship cinema ,but the untimely death of David Bernard put paid to that.The stage end of the theatre that was still under construction was hurredly finished off with a wall behind the proscenium and no stage facilities.A 3/16 WurliTzer organ was cancelled and the organ (a 3/8)destined for the Ritz Wigan was installed in its place.The organ is now in Sydney Australia.

Johnllon on January 8, 2020 at 8:58 am

It was a custom for the Ritz to have a charity Christmas carol concert each year, Roy castle appeared there one year, and in 1971 although the cinema had closed it reopened for one day before Christmas for the annual concert. Organ playing choirs on the stage, and the host said from the stage to the full audience, “Lets sing loud and bring the roof down and save the demolition men a job!” That was the last time I went inside the Ritz.

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