Tower Cinema

111 Lumley Road,
Skegness, PE25 3LZ

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Tower Cinema (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: United Entertainments Ltd.

Architects: Alfred John Thraves

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440175.476.5152

Nearby Theaters

Tower Cinema

Located in the seaside resort of Skegness, Lincolnshire. Built and opened by local exhibitor Fred Clements, the Tower Cinema opened on 27th March 1922, with a total seating capacity of 966. It is located in the corner of the Pleasure Gardens near the town’s famous clock tower, hence the name of the cinema.

It was listed in the 1931 edition of Kinematograph Year Book as the only cinema in town to be equipped for sound, at the Tower Cinema it was Western Electric(WE). It was closed for three months in January 1937 for internal alterations.

It was badly damaged by a German bomb on 18th January 1941, during a matinee performance, but luckily, no-one was hurt. Damage was sustained mainly to the roof, but it put the cinema out of action until repairs were begun in late-1949. Most of the original building was demolished and a new Tower Cinema was designed by Nottingham based architect Alfred John Thraves & Son, which had an enlarged seating capacity of 1,200; 750 in the stalls and 450 in the circle. A stage 32ft wide and 28ft deep was added and eight dressing rooms were added to enable live shows to be performed in the cinema, in addition to film performances. An organ was installed (make unknown). The entrance foyer had two island payboxes. The interior colour scheme was in gold, crimson and autumn tints. The projection box was equipped with Western Electric’s latest Westrex projectors. The cinema had it own electric power plant. The Tower Cinema was re-opened on 6th July 1951 with Bette Davis in "Payment on Demand" and John Payne in "El Paso".

In the Summer of 1984, the balcony was converted into a 420 seat cinema and the stalls area was converted into an amusement arcade. In January 2003, the former balcony cinema was twinned, each screen seating 142. In 2004 these were slightly enlarged and the seating is now for 160 and 152.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian on September 16, 2008 at 8:00 am

Two photos (exterior and interior) dating from 1987 here:–

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Ian on April 9, 2010 at 4:48 am

An interior of the circle cinema circa 1988 here:–

vulcanproject on November 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Having been to the cinema since the late 1980s it has undergone quite a few changes.

The most recent revision of the cinema includes new digital projectors and sound, badly badly needed. Previous equipment was faulty and audio quality was extremely poor throughout 2012 as to be practically inaudible (honestly, it was THAT bad and the management admitted as much), happily at the end of that year it was replaced with spanking new upgrades and I am happy to report all is well.

The entrance ‘lobby’ is the arcade amusements underneath the screens, requiring you to queue among the holiday makers shovelling their coins into the noisy slots and games. Prices are average for the area, typically adult £6.50 for 2D, £7.50 for a 3D blockbuster. Bring your own 3D glasses, or you will end up buying some from the counter. Eventually once you have paid you move up a large flight of stairs to one of your two available screens.

Therefore we come to a major problem. NO DISABLED ACCESS. Seemingly NO plans for it either on the horizon I am aware of. Yes, even at the end of 2013 as this is written! I’m not disabled, but this is important to note and even I think this is poor.

It is not my favourite place to visit. The decor is aged and rather tacky although the facilities are all kept reasonably clean in fairness. The seating has mostly average space, not great on the elbows or legs (although a couple rows do have a bit more legroom due to layout), with decent modern flip up seats and cup holders.

Upstairs we have refreshments, in my opinion pretty expensive but I guess average for a cinema, don’t expect change from a fiver for just a small popcorn and drink!

Really I only visit this cinema if going somewhere else was not convenient for my movie of choice, it is adequate, but don’t expect a top class experience.

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