24 Priory Road,
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Previously operated by: Clifton Circuit
Architects: Ernest S. Roberts, R.O. Stiles
Firms: Satchwell & Roberts
Functions: Live Performances, Nightclub
Styles: Art Deco
The Regal Cinema is an outstanding example of a small town 1930’s cinema (well actually Tenbury Wells is a Cathedral City, but is relatively small). Built by the Clifton Cinemas chain (Regal Wells Company Ltd.), it opened on 12th November 1935 with Ronald Colman in "Clive of India". Designed by architect Ernest S. Roberts, who was assisted by local architect R.O. Stiles. Seating was provided for 420 in the stalls and 160 in the balcony. There are original glazed stained glass windows and much of the original decorative scheme is still intact. An unusual feature is a stand alone pylon name sign which is located on the corner of the plot of land at Priory Road and Princes Road. The Regal Cinema had a fully equipped stage which was 30 feet deep with a proscenium opening of 28 feet wide. There were four dressing rooms and these facilities were put to good use for many years, staging pantomime, local amateur opera companies and variety shows which attracted big name stars right through into the 1960’s.
The Clifton Cinema Circuit of Birmingham operated it for many years. In the 1960’s it began a mixed use of films and bingo on two nights a week and it screened its last film in January 1993 to become a full time bingo club which closed in around 1997. The Regal Cinema remained empty and unused until 2003, when it was converted into Kudos nightclub.
The building was Grade II Listed in 1994 and is considered to be the best work of architect Ernest S. Roberts. It is currently on the local Mendip District Council ‘Historic Buildings at Risk Register’. It was reported in 2011, that the original stand-alone pylon advertising sign with the Regal name on it, which is included in the description for the heritage listing of the cinema had been removed (stolen?). In early-2015 the Regal began nights of live performances operating as Kudos on Fridays & Saturdays.
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Recent comments (view all 4 comments)
Looking at the photo, the place doesn’t look big enough to have housed a 45' deep stage and 600 seats.
Just checked my files. Seating capacity was 594. Stage depth was 30ft not 45ft scope picture was 25ft Projection Equipment BTH phone number had been Wells 3195
There used to be an unusual pylon in the car park to the cinema… it seams that this has disappeared… it was going to be re-opened as a cinema, but Tesco bought the freehold and wanted to demolish everything… including, yes, the cinema… listing has saved it for now..but as we all know, Listing to Grade 2 is no guarentee of being saved at all these days…
I fondly remember Saturday film club at The Regal. I walk past most days admiring the art deco style. Thankfully many of the art deco features still exist today. The Regal is now to host variety nights! Bring back shows to The Regal is welcomed news. The Regal now has it’s own website at www.regalwells.co.uk