ABC Regal Cinema, Chester.~ Multi Screen Alteration
Multi screen alterations were carried out on the ABC during the watch of the then owners EMI.
The balcony became two cinemas, with the stalls area given over to bingo. The conversion was typical of planners with no thought or respect of a building of this quality, producing an ill thought out travesty.
This picture gives a fine example of the disregard that the planners gave to the fine plasterwork ceiling as they installed air vents for the new cinemas
They obviously had free range to do what they wanted as amazingly there was no listing protection on this building, unlike the much inferior Chester Odeon, which for some unknown reason was deemed fit for Grade 2 listing.
Once it fell in to the hands of Cannon in 1987 it’s time was up. Cannon decided to lease a 6 screen multiplex on the outskirts of the city (now demolished), closing the ABC in December 1990.
The building remained empty until nightclub merchants Brannigans, opened the lower level up on 6th October 1995 as one of their “cavorting venues”. The redundant cinemas remained unused. Brannigans tenure came to an end in 2010 after 15 years.
The following year the building was acquired by Primark. What was left of the interior was totally gutted and integrated with Primark’s nearby store. Local cinema historian, Roger Shone, managed to salvage many items of interest at this time. David A Ellis managed to capture some photographs of the emptied cinemas, and Brannigans on the ground floor
The rest is history and the story of this once great triple A grade Super Cinema ends!