Queen's Cinema

2 Queen's Parade,
Bangor, BT20 3BJ

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The Queen’s Cinema opened on 7th June 1952. There was virtually no street frontage and the converted building was up an entry previously known as Luna Park, an amusement centre with rides and machines which had opened in 1933; earlier it had been the Milroy Ballroom. The County Down Spectator of 7th June said the entrance had been reconditioned and transformed into a modern picture theatre. The latest RCA sound equipment had been installed and there were 500 long-back reclining seats. The proscenium was 34ft wide.

The directors were Norman Ellison and Irish film actor, writer and musician Richard Hayward. Ellison and Hayward also owned cinemas in Warrenpoint (Foy), Rathfriland and Crossmaglen. The 1954 Kine Yearbook shows the owner as Queen’s Cinema (Bangor) Ltd. 133 Royal Avenue, Belfast, the address of a number of cinemas grouped together under the Supreme Cinemas umbrella. Later on, the Queen’s Cinema changed hands, becoming part of Carter Cinemas Ltd. 185 Donegall Street, Belfast. The final owner (from January 1975) was Belfast Cinemas Ltd. who had acquired Rank Odeon’s Northern Ireland cinemas in 1974.

The County Down Spectator (14th October 1977) carried a report on the fire bomb attacks on local cinemas. The Regent Cinema in Newtownards had been destroyed. The Comber Cinema received minor damage as did the Queen’s Cinema. Two devices had exploded at the latter, resulting in only minor damage. Some seats had been destroyed but these were quickly replaced and business continued as normal.

The advertisement in the Spectator (26th January 1979) said that the Queen’s Cinema would be closed from 27th January until further notice. The same paper (23rd February) reported a rumour that the Queen’s Cinema and Tonic Cinema had changed hands, which was quickly scotched by Alf Scott of A. S. & D. Enterprises Ltd (a sister company of Belfast Cinemas). He told the reporter that the company has not sold either cinema as it is planned to do a lot of reorganisation in the near future. Nothing further was seen about the matter and the Queen’s Cinema remained vacant.

The immediate site and much of the adjoining buildings and land have remained derelict for many years. Work to transform the area, which overlooks the Marina, may commence in the summer of 2024 (according to reports). A cinema is included in the plans but it’s unclear as to what form that might take. Incidentally, for many years a small mural was to be seen on the frontage of one of the derelict buildings; it named most of Bangor’s old cinemas.

Contributed by Torchlight
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