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There is some confusion on the buildings location caused by the map arrow being incorrect. The County is on the North East corner of the square, the building arrowed is the Dalton Rooms, a former garage but with an exterior that some mistake as a former cinema.
It would appear that the opening date is incorrect, the Arcadian opened as a revue style theatre in 1938/39 and the 1941 date is probably the reopening date after war outbreak closure.
A small square was formed at the side of the Great Northern pub and the cinema entrance which was small mock Greek with 2 columns from recollection fronted this square with the auditorium going to the right behind the terraced shops. I remember as a 9 year old all the Sat club minors being told off by the manager because someone had thrown a chock ice at the screen the previous week.
The design of this cinema is almost perfect to its function, with no waste, simply exactly what is needed for 780 people to watch a film, go to the toilet and buy an ice cream. The interior streamline modern design is just enough to create the sense of occasion and value without going over the top. The amazing facade however is testament to the fact builder / operator were the same and the frontage is as much a show of the builders skill and craftsmanship (Eastwood & Sons) as it is a cinema frontage.
Current plans are to demolish the auditorium for a supermarket but retaining the facade, although there is some who want it all demolished because they do not like the look of it!
I was always told by my parents that the reason for the big stage was to hold brass band competitions.
Great to see the Grade II listing. The Regent has so much of architectural interest, that I always regarded it as unique in all the buildings I worked in over the years, (previous to the Regent I was based at the Granada Tooting).
One of the most distinctive features of this cinema was an opening roof! The building costruction is unusual reinforced concrete beams with a virtually flat roof with no roof void. A hole in the roof was then covered with a structure with sliding panels, leading to possible “al fresco” viewing of films.