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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.
Architects: Harold Seymour Scott
Styles: Art Deco
Located in Atherstone, Warwickshire, on Long Street, a short distance east of the main town centre. Built on the site of the Atherstone Workhouse, the Regal Cinema opened on 28th August 1937 with Jack Buchanan in “This’ll Make You Whistle” and Jack Holt in “Crash Donovan”. With its 750 seat auditorium on a stadium plan, it staged variety and well as pictures. The proscenium was 40 feet wide. It was first operated as an independent cinema by the owners of the Savoy Cinema, Stratford Road, Birmingham.
It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) on 30th August 1943. Taken over by independent operator Bob Sankey from 27th March 1960. Bob Sankey became well known in the business for operating a sideline company from the premises, dealing in second-hand spare parts for projectors and other cinema equipment.
The Regal Cinema operated as a part time bingo club for many years and screened its last film at a matinee performance on 12th August 1987, Disney’s “Flight of the Navigator”. That evening it played its final bingo session. Upon closing it was still maintained in immaculate condition, including polished woodwork and brass. Even the original two Ross-Simplex projectors with their original RCA sound heads were in perfect working order. The building had been sold in early-1987 with plans to build 37 flats on the site. It was demolished in 1989 and housing named Regal Court was built on the site.
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Recent comments (view all 13 comments)
My late Nan Gladis Evans worked at this cinema for many many years as a usherette selling ice creams in the intervals and cleaner who polished the brass fittings. Mrs Sankey always spoiled me when ever I went into the cinema giving me chocolate & sweets and unlimited free entrance. The last films to show at the Regal were ‘THE GOONIES’ & FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR' I’m lucky enough to own the Regal entrance door mat. The owner’s wife Mrs.Sankey also baked the most amazing cakes especially her date cake which I will always remember.
Good to see the comments on the regal from Mike and Nick …. if you spot this new comment 2 questions 1st for Mike is Les Still alive ? he must be getting on now and what was his mates name who had the old Austin A7 van was it Brian ? He always used to bring his Mrs with him she always had curlers and a hair net and scalf on she used to sit in the stalls and wait for him to do his work …. and Nick I am writing a book which is complete and about to go to press on Atherstone cinemas along with surrounding area, if you have any old photos Id be greatful, there alwasy used to eb one of the usherettes with Neville Busman who played Ray Lancton in Coronation Street which was in the Pay Box but nobdy remembers where it went ahhhh good old memories
@ Peter. Les Castree is Still Alive and appears on the Vd called “The Last Projectionist” The Chap in the Van was Rodney Ballard..
Rodney thats it wow I remember now ….. so is the last projectionist on utube ? Good to hear Les is still going he must be getting on now …. Anyway thanks for the information Mike
There are only snipits in Youtube.. I had to open my wallet and buy it on ebay.. :o)
Great to see new photos of the Regal, the staff photo is great, I would love to no the name of the commissionaire, I seem to recall being told by Des Schofieled ( far left as poster boy) his name was Harry Ponchery but I would love to confirm this and also everyone else’s name in the photo.
Also Note* My Book “The Auditorium” is available and covers the Regal and Picturedrome cinemas of Atherstone and also the other cinemas of North Warwickshire including Nuneaton, Chapel End, Arley Bedworth Coleshill, Attleborough and Stockingford.
Davegrendon could you contact me please , can you confirm the commissionaires name and do you no any of the others in the photo. I no 2 others be great to identify them all
I always wonder why these nice looking buildings are allowed to be demolished and such bland looking buildings replacing them.
I have uploaded an image from Movie Maker magazine for R Sankey advert.
Many thanks for uploading the R Sankey Advert Super8man very interesting. Interesting phone numbers too the 2220 number was the Regal Atherstone and the 3210 number was the Picturedrome Cinema Atherstone number still in use as the Picturedrome closed in 1960.