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Romford Now & Then   Glimpses of the Past in the Present

 
The ABC cinema, South Street, in August/September 1999.
The ABC cinema, South Street, in August/September 1999.

When the cinema opened on 7th November 1938 it was known as the Ritz.  At that time it could seat over 2,000 people, with 1,269 in the stalls and 750 in the circle.   The first films to be shown were Vivacious Lady1 and Prison Farm1.  The cinema was renamed the ABC in 1962.2

On 20th March 1963 the ABC played host to The Beatles, who were supporting Tommy Roe and Chris Montez.  Also on the bill were The Viscounts, Debbie Lee, Tony Marsh, and the Terry Young Six.3

In 1971 the cinema was refurbished and turned into a triple-screen complex.  It reopened on 26th September, showing Wuthering Heights1 on Screen 1 (652 seats),  Ryan's Daughter1 on Screen 2 (496 seats), and Tales of Beatrix Potter1 on Screen 3 (248 seats).2

The ABC closed at the end of 1999, and has since been demolished to make way for Gibson Court, a development of flats.

Display a map showing the location from which this photograph was taken.

1 Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.
2 Romford Recorder, August 13, 1999, page 4.
3 Advertisment in the Romford Recorder, March 15, 1963, page 10.
 

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