ABC Lancaster

13 Dalton Square,
Lancaster, LA1 1PL

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Union Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: J.C. Derham

Firms: Derham & Kay Ltd.

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Palace Theatre, Palace Cinema

Nearby Theaters

Former Palace/ABC, Lancaster, remains of circle, March 2012

Opened on 8th July 1929 as the 1,208-seat Palace Theatre, designed by J. C. Derham of Derham & Kay Ltd. Despite the theatre name it had only a small stage with no flytower and was essentially built as a cinema. In 1931 it was equipped with a Christie 2 Manual 6 ranks organ which was opened by organist George Tootell. The console was located on the right-hand side of the front stalls, in front of the proscenium. It was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system.

It was taken over by Union Cinemas in 1936 and thus passed to Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937. In 1953 the resident organist was Austin Rayner. The organ was removed from the building in 1961. The Palace Cinema was re-named ABC on 26th December 1966 after they had applied the “luxury lounge” treatment to the stalls (better seating with more legroom - usually also closing the circle). It now had 854 seats in the stalls and the circle was closed. It was equipped with a RCA sound system.

However this only lasted for eight years before the ABC closed in March 1974. The cinema was converted into Maximes Luxury Discotheque which was still operating in 1994. By 2012, it was a Zone children’s soft play area.

In February 2020 plans were approved to demolish the auditorium to build 33 student accommodation flats on the site. The façade is to be retained. The auditorium was demolished in March 2022. The front of the building is in retail use.

The Odeon Cinema in King Street later took the ABC name.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

HowardBHaas on December 3, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Scroll down for a vintage photo of auditorium:
View link

HowardBHaas on December 3, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Page 15 of brochure linked above.

Mike_Blakemore on September 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Have added picture of view of stage 1966 experiment I did taking 2 shots…

Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe on March 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

This is now a children’s soft play centre, and I was shown round by the very pleasant and helpful proprietor. From the circle front forwards and downwards, most of the original detail has gone, which I suspect must have happened when ABC turned it into a ‘Luxury Lounge’. However, above that level, quite a lot of original plasterwork survives. I took a few pictures and have added them to this entry. It’s good to see the building being used, and the proprietor seems very proud of the place.

Robert Nelson
Robert Nelson on July 14, 2015 at 6:34 am

My brother in law had a free pass as an advertiser and my fiancé and I saw many great films there. Most notably the hilarious ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

davidcoppock on August 25, 2019 at 4:41 am

Is the screen, ticket booth, bio box, or candy bar still there?

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