Empire Cinema

243 Blandford Road,
Hamworthy, BH15 4HW

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Functions: Community Center

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Empire Cinema

Located in Hamworthy near Poole, Dorset. The Empire Cinema was opened on August Bank Holiday 1935 and was independently owned and operated. The opening ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Poole and Councillor W. Strickland. The first film screened at the Empire Cinema was “Baby Takes A Bow” starring Shirley Temple.

The Empire Cinema seated 400 on one floor and operated out of a building, which was originally erected in the 1920’s. Prior to being converted into a cinema it had been used for several purposes such as wrestling, variety shows, roller skating and a Salvation Army hall. Apparently, the projectors used at the Empire Cinema were Kalee-8’s.

During World War II an unexploded bomb landed in the manager’s garden next door, which resulted in the cinema being closed for a whole week while the bomb was made safe.

The Empire Cinema closed in 1959 and the final film was “Tiger Bay” starring John Mills. The building survived and has been used as the Hamworthy Liberal Club for several years now.

Contributed by James Raeburn

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Buffer on January 12, 2014 at 6:31 am

The Empire was owned by Randolf Meech, but manager Bob Coleman took over in 1942. An unexploded bomb landed in the car park closing the cinema for a week from Whit Monday 25th May, 1942

Kevan on December 21, 2015 at 5:02 am

I do remember films being shown here after it closed as a cinema. In 1969 I saw Burt Lancaster in “The Train” here. I also remember walking down the Empire from Hamworthy Primary, as we had our school assemblies in there, not to mention the Christmas play.

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