Middle Brook Street,
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Architects: Thomas Verity
Firms: Verity and Beverley
Styles: Art Deco
Opened 29th April 1940 with the Max Fleischer feature length cartoon “Gullivers Travels”, this was a proposed Union Cinemas building in 1937, which by the time of its opening had passed to Associated British Cinemas(ABC), but it was not renamed. The original architect employed by Union Cinemas was Thomas Verity, but the plans could have been redesigned by ABC’s in-house architect William R. Glen.
The exterior has a mellow brick finish with dwarf towers at each end. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels. There was a deep stage, but no dressing rooms were provided. Original plans included an organ, but this was omitted in the final scheme.
The Ritz Cinema closed on 19th November 1960, one of the first closures by ABC and became a Ladbrooks Bingo Club and later a Top Rank Bingo Club. Many more UK cinemas would follow this path over the next few decades. The bingo club closed in 1986.
The building is now subdivided to form offices and meeting rooms and by 2015 had been converted into a church.
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