ABC Cinema in Bournemouth

Image CC: Alwyn Ladell

The final film has been shown in the last remaining high street cinema with the ABC brand.

The Odeon-owned cinema on Westover Road in Bournemouth has been sold and is due to be redeveloped into flats.

ABC – Associated British Cinemas – cinema in Bournemouth began in 1928, with the brand name gradually disappearing following its takeover by Odeon in 2000.

The last screening was Back to the Future which was shown in aid of charity Dorset Mind. ABC was one of the biggest names during the post-war heyday of British cinema-going.

The Westover Road building first opened its doors as a 2,515-seat cinema in June 1937, showing the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical Shall We Dance.

The ABC cinema in Bournemouth was divided into three screens in the 1970s but its 634-seat main auditorium remained one of the largest in the UK.

Film enthusiast Adrian Cox, who tours cinemas across the country, said the ABC cinema in Bournemouth was his favourite.

He said: “It’s an event to watch a movie there. It has perfect sight-lines. A very tall person in front of you is never in the way because of the steep banking.”

Mr Cox, who hired the cinema for a private screening of the once-banned Monty Python film Life of Brian, said modern cinemas tended to be smaller, less well decorated and “like little boxes”.

The other Odeon cinema on Westover Road is also earmarked for closure ahead of the opening of the new BH2 leisure complex, planned for Bournemouth Square.

Cinema general manager Spencer Clark said: “It was one of the flagship cinemas for ABC and it’s a fond farewell for what is a great venue.

The remain cinemas in Bournemouth are:

  • Odeon Cinema Bournemouth (35-43 Westover Road)
  • Pavilion Dance (Westover Road Bournemouth Dorset)
  • Regent Centre Cinema (51 High Street Christchurch Dorset)
  • Empire Cinema Poole (Tower Park, Poole)
  • Lighthouse Poole – Cinema (21 Kingland Road, Poole)

Source: BBC