Aldershot Empire

20 High Street,
Aldershot, GU11 1DJ

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: County Cinemas Ltd., Odeon Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: Harold Seymour Scott

Functions: Banquet Hall, Live Music Venue, Movies

Previous Names: Empire Theatre, Odeon

Nearby Theaters

The Empire is reborn & re-opened!

Located in Aldershot, Hampshire. A classic example of early-1930’s super cinema, built as a cine-variety theatre called the Empire Theatre. It opened on 1st August 1930 with “Alf’s Button”. The proscenium is 40 feet wide. It has a horseshoe shaped balcony, huge stage and once had a Compton 2Manual/6Ranks organ which was opened by organist Percy Fryer. There was a also a restaurant over the main entrance.

It was taken over by the County Cinemas chain in 1930. They were taken over by the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. in September 1939. Operated by Circuit Management Association(CMA) in the 1950’s, it was then part of the Rank Organisation and was renamed Odeon on 18th January 1964. The Compton organ was removed in the early-1960’s. The Odeon was closed on 17th October 1981, and it was used as a church, known as the Kings Centre. In the late-2000’s it was threatened with demolition. However, the church moved out in August 2015, and new owners reopened the building as the Aldershot Empire, a mixed use venue which will have wedding facilities, live music and occasional film shows.

Contributed by Mike Luck, Justin Coll

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

ritzman on July 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm

The Empire has been sold by the church who currently own & occupy the building. Read the story here:

ritzman on November 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

4 new photos added of the newly reopened & renovated Empire. With new auditorium chandelier in place and testing of the newly installed digital projection system. Great to see new life being breathed into a fantastic early Art Deco cinema. Well-done to the new owners! This beautiful cinema could have been lost to the wreckers ball if the local council had got it’s way.

ritzman on February 29, 2016 at 7:58 am

New photo added showing the early stages of construction with the steel frame being erected.

ritzman on April 17, 2016 at 5:05 am

3 new photos added 1. Original stage with decorative tabs and Compton organ in situ.Original decorative proscenium was altered to accommodate cinemascope in the mid 1950’s 2. Cafe/restaurant with original rattan furniture 3. Newly installed Victoria 8 projector 1971

ritzman on April 17, 2016 at 5:12 am

Further photo uploaded of Picture goer magazine featuring the Empire Aldershot

ritzman on May 31, 2016 at 6:14 am

New photo uploaded of new facia signage. A Korean restaurant is now open in the original cafe/restaurant space on the first floor above the foyer. Excellent to see the Empire thriving in its new role.

ritzman on August 1, 2016 at 8:27 am

The Empire is 86 today! Happy Birthday so glad you are still with us!

ritzman on January 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

There are hopes that a Compton organ can be re installed at the Empire. Sadly not the original Compton from this cinema. An organ has been identified and its owner is keen to get the project up and running as are the owners of the Empire. The pipework will be installed in the original pipe chambers above the stage. If you are interested in helping to achieve this, please contact me on here & I will respond accordingly. If you have carpentry and electrical skills and knowledge that would be an advantage. Hopefully a team of volunteers can be assembled. Many thanks in anticipation.

ritzman on December 26, 2017 at 3:28 am

New photo added – a young Empire usher taking a break

ritzman on July 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm

The rear half of the former circle has ben partioned off and incorporated into a new function space.

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.