ABC Eccles

52 Church Street,
Eccles, M30 0DF

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Showing 1 - 25 of 66 comments

UKmender on November 30, 2020 at 3:48 am

When ABC were taken over by Thorn-EMI, an extra element was added to the vertical sign such that it read, from top down: A-B-C-EMI. Later, the bottom segment was removed, along with the letters ABC. From then to closure it simply read E-M-I.

The circle restaurant, with its separate entrance, immaculate parquet flooring and fully equipped kitchen, was leased to the Arthur Murray Dance Studio franchise. When the franchise ran out, it continued under the name ‘The Court School of Dance.’ This business continued, until demolition, under the last owners; Bill and Barbara Benson. The doors onto the circle were covered in vertical, tinsel drapes. It was still possible to go onto the circle and see the top of the proscenium and everything else above the Kwik-Save suspended ceiling. The dance school moved to Irlam, for a while, before returning to Eccles Masonic Hall. Barbara Benson died in June 2013, following which Bill wound up the business and moved to Australia, to live with his brother.

raymillington on July 14, 2018 at 1:33 am

Hello ex projectionists. 4th operators jobs make the tea, paint the floors, clean the boilers out, from time to time scrub the projection box floor and since the box floor at eccles was a light tan it took some scrubbing with a deck scrubber and then three layers of wax put on by hand what a pain. also 4ths job was to run the show and all the reels while the 2nd proj had a kip on the sofa in the staff room there. not enough energy to say more. ah well happy days.

regards to you all ray millington happily retired.

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on July 4, 2018 at 5:42 am

Hi Mike (Blakemore) You missed the bit off about having responsibility for making the brews. I always made sure mine tasted terrible, so I got off lightly most of the time. Lol.

Mike_Blakemore on July 3, 2018 at 3:29 am

The 4th Operator or should I say Projectionist was a projectionist in training . In those days Projector film capacity’s was just around 2000 feet. In the old days with Main feature the B Film Adverts trailers Newsreel Cartoon These would involve at least 14 reels of films with manual change overs from one projector to the other. For normal shows The Chief projectionist Co-Chief 2nd projectionist and possibly the 3rd would do the running of the show. Whilst the 3rd and fourth would do the rewinding and any repairs to the print. They would also keep the projection box and room clean. The projection box used to be polished daily so if any film dropped on the floor it could be re-spooled without to much dust or dirt going on the print. In the UK when Selective Employment Tax was introduced. Work started in altering the systems to run single manning and long players attached to a projector leading to automation Hope this helps..

davidcoppock on July 3, 2018 at 1:39 am

What does a 4th operator do?

popcorn_pete on March 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Opened on 30 July 1932. When all the performances were eventually finished the opening film was “Up for the Cup”. Pop concerts were held here in the 1960s with Gene Pitney and The Kinks just two of the familiar names to grace the stage. In 1935 the chief operator was killed when two curtain weights fell on top of him.

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on November 23, 2016 at 1:14 am

Ray, correction, it’s 17 posts down.

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on November 23, 2016 at 1:11 am

Ray, about a dozen posts down you’ll see my email address. Send me yours and I’ll send some photos across.

raymillington on November 22, 2016 at 1:24 am

hi Derick. yes started at the Apollo as trainee from july 1966 until april 1967 when I transferd to eccles as 4th operator. when eccles closed march? 1974 I went to stockport from the until about November 1979. when I first went to stockport the manager was Mike ronan think the spelling is right & the chief Ken toombs not to sure I spelt it right. I noticed Derick on the ritz stockport site you were there as projectionist. nice to here from you Ralph did you ever know our friend Vic mancini used to come in at night and look for you? and derick how is the Curzon Urmston faring. as always nice to see everyone about regards to all. MERRY XMAS ray millington

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on November 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

Ray (Millington) Can you recall when, roughly, you worked at the Apollo and the Ritz Stockport?

janetbrindley on November 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

Ralph your chief would like to say hello still alive and kicking going at 24 frames a second. Remembers you all well lads. Regards Ralph.

raymillington on November 14, 2016 at 1:24 am

Hello colin I knew a few by your name but the one I remember most was a colin Wilkinson who used to do abit at the Ellesmere swinton not to sure if spelt that right.I worked the Apollo. ritz stockport. odeon sale. metro. ashton. and a few other places so I will know a few old operators out there. regards ray

triac505 on November 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Ray I feel that I must know you but not sure

triac505 on November 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

We used to play Maria-elanor not to sure of the LP for the ice cream breaks and also for the silent trailers. When Ralph was on his day off I used to play something by Joseph Seal. George Parker was a card. A good friend behind The Broadway

raymillington on November 9, 2016 at 1:23 am

hello triac505 I worked unit4 Hulme for a while as relief while I was at eccles went over some years later and saw ralph there. he took me up to the old projection box which I did not realise was still there. a very small box with two very large BTHs in. you had to put you back against the wall to get round the back of them. must of been hell in the summer. going back to eccles went some years ago to an old show of mine the Apollo ardwick green to see the stage manager peter gates formally of the davenport stockport we went up to the projection box the FP20s had gone in their place two old Ross GC3s he said at least one was from eccles anybody know if they are still there? well by for now. regards ray

triac505 on November 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Yes Ray the boiler house was always the best excuse, the number of times David used the back stairs from the box to fetch him. All of the box staff was fantastic. We was the Broadway family. Mr Mancini sir was delighted by the fact that our “box” was the best in his region, but before I knew who he was I ordered out of the box . . ouch, I did infact later get an apology . . WOW!
When the fone rang we answered it with “hi engine room”. When the Broadway finally closed Ralph went as chief to unit4 cinemas Hulme, I visited him many times, we shared many pints of bitter together, ahh very happy times. Ralph was a great friend and person whose career I based my own life on. I am confused Ray I did not realise Frank took a drink.

raymillington on November 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

Me again yes david adams the pipe smoker from Victoria park eccles. had a 1930s wind up gramophone used to tale it up onto the projection box roof and blast George Formby all over eccles. regarding ricardo manuel mancini he was always the same, but we went to the rialto broughton. Salford one day to unload a removal van full of cinema seats into the snooker hall under the cinema he took his coat off rolled his sleeves up and got work. he was a pain some nights when our chief nipped across the road for a pint at the town hall pub mr mancini would turn up about 9.30pm asking for him and the only excuse you could give that our beloved chief was in the boiler house eventually he would wander away without seeing him. ah the good old days regards all ray.

triac505 on October 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm

mmm Sorry Derick but management was always vague on projection staff. I was interviewed by the manager of the theatre royal Manchester and employed there, and during a split shift was stopped by the manager who wanted to know who I was and where I was going. He was gob-smacked when he found out. Thankfully Derek as also with Kevin you had your finger on the pulse and knew your staff Colin

triac505 on October 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Yes Ray David Adams was the man who put his feet through the newly decorated and seated cinema, and I must add David was a great lad with a barrowful of problems. Unfortunately I lost contact with Ralph in the early 70’s. I rely do want any photo’s or any anecdotes from the Broadway that anyone may have. A huge thank you to Derek for your info but please keep it coming Thanks to all Colin

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on October 31, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Welcome to Cinema Treasures Ray.Apologies, but my memory is a little vague ref the Projection personnel.

Hi David, about time we had another meet up!

davidstirzaker on October 31, 2016 at 10:46 am

Heavens above. I came back to cover the interregnum between Kevin Utley going and Derek Warner coming up from Bicester.

raymillington on October 31, 2016 at 6:23 am

came across this site I seem to know the old names, worked at this place april 1967/74 our friend mr moss was assistant manager I remember mr stirzaker the day you left I the 60s. mr kevin Utley & the manager who followed him Derek warner. I was projectionist under chief ralph barrett until closing march 74. I think somebody asked about the man putting his big feet through the ceiling I thing his name was david adams but not to sure. well nice to see the photographs & the old names . regards to all who was there when I was there ray Millington.

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on September 28, 2016 at 9:04 am

Wish I’d known about that ploy in those days Terry, he used to terrify us poor assistant managers.

terry on September 28, 2016 at 6:36 am

Re Vic Mancini: We ‘lent’ ABC Derby a projectionist (from base ABC Huddersfield) when it tripled. Obviously, he was going to be working overtime, and I asked this particular operator to ring me weekly for details of his shifts at Derby. Prior to his secondment I said that I would , to be going on with, include an extra two shifts in week 1 until we got up to speed (at this time the payroll system was geared to the convenience of London and not those out in the field).

Mr Mancini rang me, and in his usual obnoxious, gruff, belligerent manner, asked “What are you doing about *******’s overtime, mate?” and, before I could explain that what I had arranged for week 1 was just an interim measure, he retorted" Two shifts – what the hell bloody use is two ruddy shifts, mate? Get stuffed!“ to which I replied "Mr Mancini, you may be the Zone Engineer, but do NOT speak to me like that!” and the old so and so climbed down…….

As I said this the Huddersfield Chief knocked at the office door and could not help but overhear my irate tone and said “You just did right speaking to Mancini as you did as he’ll walk all over you if you let him!”

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on September 28, 2016 at 12:38 am

Hi again triac505. I was there in 1968, Kevin Utley was the manager. After that I moved on to the ABC Deansgate. email me at and I will send a photo.