ABC Stourbridge

158 Lower High Street,
Stourbridge, DY8 1TS

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: Joseph Lawden

Functions: Gymnasium, Live Performances

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Scala Picture Theatre, Scala Theatre, New Scala Cinema, Savoy Cinema

Nearby Theaters

ABC Savoy Cinema

The 1,100-seat Scala Picture Theatre opened on 11th October 1920 with Isobel Elsom in "The Edge of Beyond", with Miss Elsom appearing in person. Designed by Birmingham architect Joseph Lawden in a Classical style, the narrow façade was framed by two columns that had terra cotta Hathernware tiling on its surround. Seating was provided in the auditorium on stalls and circle levels. On 12th May 1930 a Western Electric(WE) sound system was installed and the first ‘talkie’ screened was “The Sky Hawk” starring Helen Chandler. By 1931 it was operating as the Scala Theatre and by 1936 it had been taken over by the B.T. Davis chain and re-named New Scala Cinema.

It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in September 1942, and was re-named Savoy Cinema on 20th September 1943. It was re-named ABC in 1968, and refurbished in 1978, with seating reduced to 780.

The ABC was closed on 6th November 1982 with “Pink Floyd-The Wall”. It was gutted internally and converted into a supermarket. Later used for storage, in early-1999, it was converted into a gymnasium, known as the Academy Health Club. On 8th April 2006, part of the building was opened as Heaven, a lap-dancing club. Since then the auditorium has been gutted. The façade remains basically unaltered.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 7, 2009 at 6:46 am

The ABC photographed playing the ABC release in April 1968:
View link

chrisjones on May 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

This cinema was tatty and rather sad in its last years. However, for a local lad of 14, it had the major advantage of very lax standards and it was very easy to therefore waltz into X certificates. Strangely, it generally always seemed rather busy (at least in the evenings) therefore it’s closure seemed odd at the time.

mlawden on September 14, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Joseph Lawden was my grandfather, though I never met him as he died suddenly of pneumonia in 1933 aged 45. He was apparently a kind father and a talented architect. In the depression he suffered financially when houses that he had built became unsaleable and he sadly took to drink. As a Methodist he would not have approved of his cinema becoming a lap dancing club.

Mike_Blakemore on October 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

In the early days The Theatre did Cine-Variety, When I did reliefs (Management) there I did a lot of exploring of the building. Behind the Pros that was built for Cinemascope. There was the original Theatre one intact complete with dressing rooms… Full of Junk… The Manager at the time had been told for years and years that it would be given a refurbishment. When it finally came.. He had a heart attack and died… Hmmm.. We always thought it was shock…

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on October 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

The above photo of the old time commissionaire reminds me of the classic British picture “The Smallest Show On Earth” with the remarkable Bernard Miles standing outside the Bijou… a film I shall never tire of watching, especially as Peter Sellers is the drunk projectionist and Margaret Rutherford as the dotty old cashier.

Mike_Blakemore on November 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Have Loaded a picture of the Sales Kiosk.. The Scala before ABC. was part of the B.T. Davis Group of Birmingham…

Zuko1 on June 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Does anyone have any pictures of the ABC/Scala/Savoy cinema auditorium on here? This was my first cinema encounter & i would love to see inside the auditorium again.

Mike_Blakemore on June 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Prior to The ABC take over it was run as part of the BT Davis Circuit of Birmingham…

John Griffiths
John Griffiths on August 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

The frontage and foyer now remain but the auditorium and the rest of the building are now gutted.Another great loss after the demolition of the Odeon to the fine cinemas Stourbridge once had.The original stage lay lost and forgotten behind the new widened cinemascope proscenium along with the dressing rooms. It was used in the 1920s and 30s for Variety and repertory.I remember it in the 60s as the ABC, being very smart and well run with its traditional long ornate auditorium, barrel-vaulted ceiling and ABC house style chandeliers and a steep balcony. The high new wide proscenium ,screen and curtains blended in well.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.