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Then and now: Do you remember any of these former Norwich cinemas?

PUBLISHED: 18:35 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 04 January 2020

Norwich Buildings -- A

ABC Cinema exterior. The Regent as it was formerly known opened in 1923. In 1973 it was split into a multi-screen cimema and changed its name to the ABC and in 1987 the named changed again this time to the Cannon. On October 29th 2000 the cinema was closed and there are plans (2003) to turn it into a nightclub

Dated -- 15 February 1986

Photograph -- C5595

Norwich Buildings -- A ABC Cinema exterior. The Regent as it was formerly known opened in 1923. In 1973 it was split into a multi-screen cimema and changed its name to the ABC and in 1987 the named changed again this time to the Cannon. On October 29th 2000 the cinema was closed and there are plans (2003) to turn it into a nightclub Dated -- 15 February 1986 Photograph -- C5595

From the Rolling Stones to a headline hitting film riot, Norwich's cinemas have a rich history. Here are ten former cinemas in the city and their stories.

The Capitol cinema at Mile Cross, Aylsham Road in Norwich. Picture: Archant LibraryThe Capitol cinema at Mile Cross, Aylsham Road in Norwich. Picture: Archant Library

ABC, Prince of Wales Road, 1923-1990s

The ABC opened on December 3 1923 with a viewing of The Prisoner of Zenda. In the 60s, it was popular with children for the 'ABC Minors' showing on Saturday mornings. Tickets costs 6d (the equivalent of 2.5p) and children would watch Batman serials and films. It closed as a cinema at the end of the 90s and reopened as Mercy nightclub in 2003 but remains Norwich's longest-running cinema.

Queen with Lord Mayor Don Pratt at the premiere of the Go Between in Norwich on 5 Nov 1971 Lady Mayoress 3rd right. Extreme left Lady FermoyQueen with Lord Mayor Don Pratt at the premiere of the Go Between in Norwich on 5 Nov 1971 Lady Mayoress 3rd right. Extreme left Lady Fermoy

The Regal, Dereham Road, 1938-1958

Projectionist with last reels for The Sound of Music film at the Gaumont Cinema - Norwich pic taken 10th feb 1967 10428-1aProjectionist with last reels for The Sound of Music film at the Gaumont Cinema - Norwich pic taken 10th feb 1967 10428-1a

The Regal hit the headlines in 1957 when cinema-goers were forced out on the street after rioting and dancing in the aisles. They had been watching Rock Around the Clock, which featured the latest dance craze Rock'n'Roll, and were copying moves from the film. But the cinema was used to risk, as it had opened at the start of London projectionists' strikes. When the cinema closed it was vacant before becoming the Mayfair Bingo Club.

Norwich Buildings -- N

Noverre Cinema, the 272-seat interior part of the Assembly House complex in Theatre street. Opened in 1950 and gave a unique style of cinema in Norwich as there were separate performances, spacious seats, no ice cream and no adverts and showed films that were not normally shown at  other cinemas in the city. However in 1992 it closed owing to falling ticket sales and has since been converted to the Noverre Suite which will host a wider range of activities

Dated -- 3 July 1956

Photograph -- C5638Norwich Buildings -- N Noverre Cinema, the 272-seat interior part of the Assembly House complex in Theatre street. Opened in 1950 and gave a unique style of cinema in Norwich as there were separate performances, spacious seats, no ice cream and no adverts and showed films that were not normally shown at other cinemas in the city. However in 1992 it closed owing to falling ticket sales and has since been converted to the Noverre Suite which will host a wider range of activities Dated -- 3 July 1956 Photograph -- C5638

The Noverre, Theatre Street, 1950-1992

The Noverre opened in the Assembly rooms as part of a £70,000 refurbishment project which also saw music rooms, a banquet room and exhibition rooms. As a cinema, it was famed for showing no adverts before films, for not selling ice creams or popcorn and for abundant leg room. The cinema's most watched film - aired 11 times - was Cabaret.

Norwich Buildings  --  N / E

The Norvic Cinema, Prince of Wales Road as it was when it was was originally called the Electric Theatre. It opened in 1910 and was refurbished in 1949 when it was renamed the Norvic. The cinema was demolished in 1961

Dated -- Date unknown

Photograph -- C5648Norwich Buildings -- N / E The Norvic Cinema, Prince of Wales Road as it was when it was was originally called the Electric Theatre. It opened in 1910 and was refurbished in 1949 when it was renamed the Norvic. The cinema was demolished in 1961 Dated -- Date unknown Photograph -- C5648

Theatre de Luxe, St Andrews Street, 1910-1957

Norwich Buildings  --  R

The projection room at the Regent Cinema on Prince of Wales Road ( later the ABC and the Cannon) pictured when the cinema was being modernised

Dated -- 5 May 1961

Photograph -- C5652Norwich Buildings -- R The projection room at the Regent Cinema on Prince of Wales Road ( later the ABC and the Cannon) pictured when the cinema was being modernised Dated -- 5 May 1961 Photograph -- C5652

Theatre de Luxe was housed in the first building in Norwich designed specifically for cinema and also introduced the word to the city, in place of cinematograph. Popularity meant the cinema expanded after a decade and while it was the last cinema in Norwich to air talking films, it was the first to show 3D films. It closed as a cinema in 1957 and was demolished in 1970.

Haymarket Picture House, then the Gaumont, Norwich.Haymarket Picture House, then the Gaumont, Norwich.

The Carlton, All Saints Green, 1932-1973

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The Carlton, renamed the Gaumont in 1960, was then the seventh cinema in Norwich. Perhaps one of its most dramatic episodes came during the Second World War, during an intensive air raid on April 29, 1942, when the cinema survived an unexploded bomb which smashed through the canopy and burrowed under the outer wall. When it closed as a cinema in 1973, it became a performance venue and played host to some big names including The Rolling Stones.

The Mayfair, Magdalen Street, 1912-1956

The Mayfair was Norwich's first purpose-built cinema, although construction was impaired by the Norwich Flood of 1912. Later, the cinema achieved another Norwich first - a silver screen, which offered the best viewing experience. After the cinema closed in 1956, it became derelict and was then transformed into a bowling alley. The former site was then used by Anglia TV and is now the venue Epic.

The Thatched Theatre, All Saints Green, 1915-1930

One of Norwich's most opulent cinemas, The Thatched Theatre boasted a restaurant and an elegant ballroom, while cinemagoers were treated to films accompanied by a string orchestra and afternoon teas. However, the cinema never aired talking films - which is credited to its closure in 1930. The cinema later turned into a ballroom and is now John Lewis.

The Capitol, Aylsham Road, 1932-1960

Opening on Boxing Day in 1932 with a screening of Tarzan the Ape Man, The Capitol in Mile End was marketed as 'Norwich's new suburban cinema'. To attract customers outside the city centre, the cinema had parking, although few people at the time owned cars. After the cinema's closure in 1960, it became part of the neighbouring Lido, the Norwood Rooms. Now, it is a Mecca Bingo.

The Electric, Prince of Wales Road, 1912-1959

The Electric was closed suddenly on a Saturday afternoon in 1959 with a showing of Wild in Country and became offices several years later. At its peak, the cinema was renowned for variety show screenings and the in-house tea room, where circle patrons could get free teas.

Hippodrome, St Giles Street, 1903-1960

As a performance venue for more than 50 years, the Hippodrome spent seven years as a cinema. The building began life as a live performance venue and after its stint as a cinema put on stage shows. However, it did have short-lived second life as a cinema in the late 50s before closing in 1960.



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