ABC Stirchley

1183 Pershore Road,
Birmingham, B30 2YB

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: Harold Seymour Scott

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Stirchley Pavilion Cinema, ABC Cine-Bowl Stirchley

Nearby Theaters

ABC Cinema Stirchley

Located in the Stirchley district to the south of Birmingham. Opened as the Pavilion Cinema on 28th November 1931. Large auditorium had seating in stalls and and circle levels. In the early years, children had to queue outside on a Saturday morning in what was called the “tupenny crush”. There was a large queueing area in the basement beneath the main foyer. It was equipped with a Christie 3 manual 9 ranks organ.

It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in 1934. The café was closed in 1950. When CinemaScope was installed in the mid-1950’s the Christie organ was removed from the building. The building was changed into a combined cinema and bowling alley in 1962, when a bowling alley was built on stilts beside the cinema building.

The cinema was closed on 28th December 1968, and was converted into an ABC Bingo Club in January 1969. The café in the circle foyer area was re-opened. The ABC Bingo Club operated until July 1969 when it was taken over by the Star Cinema chain and re-named Star Bingo Club which was taken over in 1982 by EMI and finally closed in 1989 when it was operated by First Leisure Group. The building stood vacant until the former Pavilion Cinema was demolished in 2004. The site is a vacant lot in 2021.

Contributed by derek l.hunt, Eric Harvey

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

JohnBruckshaw on January 18, 2018 at 2:42 am

I need some help please. This is driving me mad !

In my distant memory I recall a BAR, somewhere on the top floor of the Pavilion Cinema in Stirchley. A small, cosy BAR either on the level of the Circle entrances or even up some more stairs.

(Or did I imagine it all ?)

Did anyone else use this BAR ? Or have access to plans which show it ?

Id be talking 1965 ish .

Many thanks
John Bruckshaw
07949 170759

Mike_Blakemore on January 18, 2018 at 3:09 am

John Bruckshaw I can tell you that there was no bar in the Cinema side I did relief Management there The business alas did not warrant a bar. Plus The Birmingham Licensing Authority would not have allowed it. Except for Road Show cinemas or Cinemas that did live shows.

Mike_Blakemore on January 18, 2018 at 3:11 am

Forgot to mention Joseph Cohen of Jacey Cinemas was one of the partners that built the place.

JohnBruckshaw on January 18, 2018 at 5:56 am

Mike, thanks for that,
but I’m quite shocked as I have some images in my mind of the bar, it must be some strange imagination.

I did speak to a ‘eddie hopkins’ this morning in B42 but this one never worked there.

Do you know what was inside the 4 small windows at the top of the curved section at the front of the building ? I cant imagine…

I used to go to the cinema and after too, to the Bingo, but mostly and very much to the Bowl.

There was certainly a bar in the Bingo,
which on occasion, mainly on a saturday would host a ‘lock in’ after hours and we would drink till 2 or 3 in the morning ! A mixture of staff and friends.

I did find a few Blakemores in walsall area, and some phone numbers in case there was no comment posted.

You have eased my mind about this, i was quite disturbed by the recollections, which have been quite real over time, and needed some closure. I just now have to wonder what has conjured them up.

Many thanks
07949 170759

Mike_Blakemore on January 18, 2018 at 10:09 am

Yes There was bars in the Bingo times The curved section at the top was a head of a staircase That curve was reshaped from memory with the new build of the bowling alley

JohnBruckshaw on January 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Mike, you say ‘bars’ in the Bingo times…

I did go into the Bingo Hall to play bingo, (and drink after hours in the main ‘stalls’ section.)

Could there have been a separate bar on the top floor in those days ? – on the left side of the ‘circle’ level – or anywhere else ?

btw – I do seem to recall a spiral staircase that seemed to lead to nowhere at the top – the 4 windows.

This is 50 years ago so my memory struggles with images from the past.

You are right the curved section disappeared and entrance to the cinema and bingo was via the new Bowl extension.

You might deduce that I am still troubled by the image of this small bar area at the top of this building…

Thank you,

Mike_Blakemore on January 20, 2018 at 4:04 am

No There was no Bar during the Cinema era. That type of cinema would never be allowed a Bar.

My own cinema for one night only had a temporary bar for Racing Car Films which was bought in by a Caterer If they had have done something like that it could have been done . But ordinary films it was a no no because people would end up taking their glasses into the auditorium .

I hasten to add we only allowed them to get a temporary licence once but found we could not control the glass problem .. So we refused to do it again as we did not want to get on the Bad side of the licensing Authority

JohnBruckshaw on January 21, 2018 at 6:49 am

Mike, What about in the Bingo days ? Upstairs ?

Mike_Blakemore on January 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

Well Bingo had different Licensing rules It was a social Club at the very start Drink had to be separate but rules were relaxed.. Cinemas today that is designed for the more mature age group are now allowed booze in the auditorium They are referred to as Boutique Cinemas..

Harry Rigby
Harry Rigby on March 4, 2021 at 6:15 am

Was the cinema demolished to build the fitness centre or converted? The fitness centre is shown on Google Streetview until March 2017 but had been demolished by June 2018.

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