ABC Luton

51 George Street,
Luton, LU1

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas

Architects: William Riddell Glen

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Savoy Cinema, Cannon

Nearby Theaters

ABC Cinema

The 1,892 seat Savoy Cinema opened at the corner of George Street (a main town centre thoroughfare) and George Street West on 17th October 1938. It was designed by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in-house architect William R. Glen and immediately assumed the leading position in the ABC cinemas in town (the Empire Cinema closed two days earlier, but the Alma Cinema and Union Cinema continued for many years).

It closed in April 1971 and was gutted for tripling and emerged as a three screen complex in September 1971. There were 632 seats in Screen 1 (former circle) and 458 and 272 in screens 2 & 3 (former stalls).

It was renamed Cannon in April 1986. When a new 10-screen Cineworld multiplex opened just a short walk down the street in 1998, the Cannon was renamed ABC once again and continued for another two years, finally closing in November 2000. It has lain empty since, despite several plans to establish an arts centre / theatre in the building.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Keithmockett on May 19, 2004 at 1:23 am

I have fond memories of many visits to the ABC Savoy (as it was known when I was a child). In the 1960’s it was one of two ABC Cinemas in Luton – the other was the ABC Ritz in Gordon Street. I think the tripling was significant because it was one of the first (?) and unlike later subdivisions the building was gutted and three distinct auditoria were created (not like the “cheaper” and more common practice of dropping a wall from the front of the circle and making two auditoria out of the space underaneath as in the Odeon at Luton and many other locations!). Architecturally the three auditoria were pretty much featureless. At the time of opening as a triple, Screen 2 had 70mm facilities. Screen 1 was upgraded to Dolby Stereo in 1984.

Ian on September 27, 2010 at 1:43 am

The above shot is the ABC – another 1988 view here:–

Biffaskin on May 13, 2021 at 1:38 pm

At least it got rebranded back to an ABC prior to closure. Professional until the end, the showmanship was great, as were all the friendly staff. I travelled down from Daventry to go here, as all there were in Northampton or Rugby nearby are soul-less multiplexes. A sad loss for Luton this closure.

orpheum on September 10, 2023 at 9:07 am

Went to restaurant opposite,and immediately recognised this CIMA building.Sporting posters about Queens 70th Jubilee so nothing happening here for over a year

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