City Cinema

66 Bridge Street,
Newport, NP20 4AP

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas

Architects: C. 'Jack' Foster, Alan Morgan

Functions: Hotel

Previous Names: ABC Newport, Cannon, Metro, ABC

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City Cinema

The ABC was built in 1968 right in the heart of Newport, South Wales on the site of the Lyceum Theatre which was demolished to make way for it.

Located on Bridge Street Newport, the ABC cinema opened 28th November 1968 and was originally a one screen cinema which could seat 1,320 people in a "stadium " auditorium. The cinema had 3 Phillips/Kinoton projectors with Peerless arc lamps which made the cinema ‘the’ place to see films made in the CinemaScope format.

The screen was large even for the standards of the day, it was 58 feet wide by 27.6 feet high. The auditorium was converted to 3 screens on 17th December 1980 utilizing the two outer projectors for the two smaller auditoria with 200-seats & 140-seats. The main auditorium with 530-seats still survives today and is huge in dimension, you feel dwarfed while sitting in your seat waiting for the film to start. (The screen is still the largest in Wales.) In April 1986 it was taken over by the Cannon Cinemas chain and was re-named Cannon.

The cinema was struggling to survive and changed hands twice since it was closed as the ABC in 1999. This was the best place to see the latest blockbuster.

Taken over by an independent operator and re-name City Cinema, it was closed on 3rd April 2008 and work began immediately to convert the building into a hotel.

Contributed by Martin Trainer

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on December 4, 2009 at 3:50 am

Visitors might be interested in this video made by students in Newport, it is a celebration of the former ABC cinema in Newport Gwent.

cinemad on February 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I was involved in the above film and was glad to give my own tribute to this very special cinema.
the film is very professional in its finish and quite sad as well.
Anyone who visited the cinema over the years would im sure acknowledge it was a great place to see a film.
I pass the Building every day on my way to work and still get a pang of sadness to think that I will never see a film in there again.
the exterior is prettymuch the same and you could still tell that this “hotel” started out life as a 1960s ABC cinema. but now in place of the familiar ABC sign there is “Travelodge” and in place of the huge auditorium are many hotel rooms. were there were seats now beds lay in their place. now customers sleep as residents instead of patrons and film fans.
this cinema had a 40 year history of film presentation its huge screen showed films such as Jaws,superman ,ET, Jurassic Park and Star Wars.
Those who visited in the 90s Saw the cinema pretty much as it looked in the 1960s as the interior didnt change alot .
People didnt realise it at the time but when they visited the ABC in Newport they were seeing a film in great surroundings with great staff serving you in an old fashioned “wonderful” way.l
Go to Cineworld Newport and that is gone forever. your ticket is ripped by a spotty tennager and you watch your film on the big screen in sterile unispired surroundings. the romance is dead .

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on March 2, 2010 at 4:15 am

Nice Website Martin:)

Ian on October 6, 2010 at 4:27 am

A photo of the foyer of the former cinema:–

Bren MacNeil
Bren MacNeil on June 25, 2015 at 5:05 am

Ian, the photo from 1989, brings back all the memories, i was there 1990/91 for work experience from school in Pontypool

Martin, the projectors were Philips/Kinoton FP20 and FP30s, only the lamphouses were Peerless

and yes screen 1 (and I do mean the screen not the auditorium) was the biggest in Wales

when I moved here to Glasgow I got a job as trainee projectionist at the Cannon Film Centre (5 screens) and cinema 2 being of a similar design and late 60s date and equipped for 70mm was the biggest screen in Scotland

popcorn_pete on June 21, 2016 at 10:54 am

To be a bit more exact the ABC opened on 28 November 1968.

BerkshireBugsy on August 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

I loved reading about the Bridge Street Cinema as I used to live in the area (Risca) and at the time it was the main cinema I would go to to see main stream movies such as E.T, Star Wars etc. Having now moved away I find it interesting that I am now a guest in the hotel which was built out of the cinema. A weird feeling indeed!

I loved the film (link above) very interesting and very well presented.

geoffjc on September 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Was this the last large one-screen cinema built for ABC? ( Rank had recently built a new Odeon ,similar in size, in Swansea,recently demolished after many years as a night-club.) The subdivision of large cinemas seemed to begin soon afterwards, initially into two with early ABC examples retaining large screens and capacities (e.g.Leicester and Shaftesbury Avenue).

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