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Previous Names: Swanage Theatre, Swanage Pavilion
In the Dorset resort of Swanage, in 1919, F. A. Walton erected a wooden army hut next to his Electric Theatre/Swanage Cinema (see separate Cinema Treasures entry).
The building opened as Swanage Theatre, but soon changed its name to the Swanage Pavilion.
Alterations were then carried out, which presumably entailed something of a complete rebuild, in 1920, and it became the Grand Theatre. A Cinematograph Licence was granted in 1933. At that time, there were 500 seats.
In 1936 the Grand Theatre and the Swanage Cinema were sold to Portsmouth Town Cinemas. They, in turn, sold the cinemas to Tony Whitehouse in 1953.
He closed the Grand Theatre on 7th November that year, with “Always a Bride”, starring Peggy Cummins, and Ronald Reagan in “Law and Order”.
After further alterations, the building re-opened as the Ritz Ballroom. Much more recently it has been home to Nixon’s Home Hardware.
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