Palace Cinema

East Street,
Blandford Forum, DT11

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Additional Info

Architects: Edward G. De Wilde Holding

Functions: Retail

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Palace Cinema

Built in 1934 when Mr Percival James Carter (former music hall entertainer) commissioned architect Mr E. de Wilde-Holding L.R.I.B.A to design a new cinema in East Street directly opposite the Electric Palace Cinema, which was also owned by Mr Carter. (The Electric Palace Cinema subsequently became a shop called Carter’s Bazaar but was reopened as the Ritz Cinema in 1940, to cater for the services' personel at nearby Blandford Camp and the RAF station at Tarrant Rushton. The Ritz Cinema finally closed down in 1957).

I can find out very little about the new Palace Cinema other than it had a balcony, which overhung the stalls area slightly, so some of the stalls seating was under the balcony. The proscenium was 22 feet wide and there was a 20 feet deep stage. I spoke to a lady who grew up in Blandford and she said that the Ritz Cinema was regarded as the ‘flea-pit’ and that the Palace Cinema was the ‘posh’ cinema in the town.

The Palace Cinema closed on 28 August 1971 when the final film, the spin-off from the classic TV comedy series “Dad’s Army” was screened. The closure was supposed to be a temporary measure while work was carried out on the building and the cinema was supposed to re-open a few weeks later with “Woodstock”. But it never did and the cinema was then converted for use as a supermarket. It remained as such for several years but is now a clothes shop.

Contributed by James Raeburn
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