Ambassador Cinema, Slough.

Ambassador Cinema

370 Farnham Road,

Slough, SL2 1JD


Original Owners: The London and Southern Super Cinemas Ltd

Architects:  Sydney R. Croker in conjunction with F.C. Mitchell.

Building Contractor:  Manor Park Construction Company Limited.

Original Seating Capacity:  1400.

Date opened:  Monday February 17th 1936.

Opened by:   British actress, Glennis Lorrimer.

First film shown: “China Seas” starring Jean Harlow and Clark Gable.

Date Closed:  Saturday 10th of February 1968.



The town of Slough become home to the Ambassador cinema on Monday February 17th 1936 with the film “China Seas”, starring Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. The second half of the week Laurel and Hardy were seen in the film “Bonnie Scotland”.



The new hall, situated at the junction of Essex Road with Farnham Road, was designed by Sydney R. Croker of Swansea in conjunction with FC Mitchell of Portman Square, London.

Construction was by Manor Park Construction Company Ltd. The total cost to build was around £25,000. Unlike other cinemas in the town there were no restaurant or ballroom attachments. The cinema was flanked on each side by eight shops.

The striking facade of the building was composed of Snowcrete. The frontage rose high above a long canopy and had five elongated windows. Neon in green and red was supplied and arranged in an artistic design and the name of the cinema appeared in large red letters near the top of the facade.

Glennis Lorimer

The opening ceremony was performed by Glennis Lorrimer (1913-1968), who was working on the film “The Interrupted Honeymoon” at Beaconsfield studios with Claude Hulbert.

Others at the grand opening were a local MP and the Chairman and other members of Slough Urban District Council.

Admission started at 6d, the most expensive seats being in the balcony at 1/6d (seven and a half pence).

Proprietors were The London and Southern Super Cinemas Ltd from Charing Cross Road, London. In July 1937 they were taken over by Odeon Cinemas Ltd but the Ambassador name remained.

Main entrance foyer and staircase.

Access to the foyer area was gained through two sets of swing doors. Once in the foyer you were greeted by an attractive colour scheme of gold and tangerine with occasional red tints.

There was an absence of unnecessary pillars in the low built foyer, giving more space. Placed far back between two massive pillars in light gold plaster work stood the paybox. There were two doors that led to the auditorium and a wide pair of stairs going to the upstairs lounge and balcony. The cinema also housed a cafe and a Compton organ entertained the patrons between shows.

Seating capacity was 1400, reduced in 1964 to 1183, and the auditorium was finished in fibrous plaster of a light gold shade, which gave a warm and comfortable appearance by the sunk lighting, which was used throughout the building. Fibrous plaster work was carried out by Maple and Co Ltd.

Carpeting was supplied by Hampton and Sons Ltd of Pall Mall toned with the seats, finished in red, which were supplied by H. Lazarus and Son Ltd and they were spaced to give comfortable leg room.

Measurement of the proscenium was  24ft by 49 feet. The Westone screen was 21feet by 17 feet. The screen curtain was a white satin, which was pleated. This toned with the heavier stage curtain finished in light gold. The stage was large enough for almost any type of stage work. Ventilation was the plenum type supplied by J. Jeffreys and Co Ltd

There was a large projection room which was equipped with Kalee 11 projectors with Western Electric sound.


We are grateful to David Dednum for this photograph of the Ambassador’s projection room, photographed in the late 1940s/ early 1950s.

from left to right~ Doris Dednum, Hector (Bill) Williams, second projectionist~Alfred Batterham, and far right, Arthur Dednum~ the chief projectionist.

David Dednum writes~

“The Ambassador Cinema, or Ambo, as many locals affectionately remember it, was where I spent a lot of time at up to the age of 10 years old. My mother, Doris, was initially secretary to the manager and eventually became manageress. Arthur Dednum, my father was the chief projectionist.

I can only guess that the photograph was taken late 1940s but no later than 1951. My mother is holding the tray. At this time she was the manager’s secretary, later she became the manageress of the cinema. She had worked there from opening day, coming from the Palace Cinema in Slough. Which is where she met my father, Arthur.  He joined the Ambassador a bit later again coming from the Palace. In the photo starting from the left my mother Doris Dednum,  Hector (Bill) Williams, Alfred Batterham second projectionist, and my father Arthur Dednum. I can remember these pictured BTH arcs and Kalee 11  projectors,  I also remember my father working through the night when the projectors were replaced with Kalee 21 projectors”.

“My father left the cinema approximately 1961 and went to work at Denham Film Laboratories, my mother not long after this”.


Leonard Dragon recalls his time working at the Ambassador Cinema, or Ambo~

“As the Amobo was a short walk away I used to go there a lot and to Alan’s the shop next door, they were newsagents, I got a job with them as a newspaper boy. On Saturday mornings I was a Road Marshall for the Amobo. We wore white armbands and stopped the traffic so the kids could cross the main road. Imagine a 14 year old doing that now?  Our pay was to get in free on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

I then worked there between 1960 and 64. David and I were friends, we both liked to make and paint Airfix kits. I remember Arthur Chief, as we called him. Alf was the co-chief.

I started as trainee and became fourth projectionist, then third but got stuck because we had a second and you couldn’t have two seconds. I went on to the Regal Uxbridge for a couple of years, then to Technicolor. The two door men were Harry and Danny; by the time I worked there only Danny was still there, he stayed a long despite his age. The managers I remember were Mr Peters and Mr Bernard Frizby-Smith. He had been there all through the war as had Arthur. I could go on but I’ll stop there . Love to hear from David if he reads this.”



The rear of the Ambassador taken from the film “The Family Way”.

There was a car park for patrons and in the film “The Family Way” it was used for a scene between Barry Foster and Hywell Bennett. They played a couple of cinema Projectionists.

The cinema closed its doors on the 10th of February 1968. It became a Top Rank Bingo club. Eventually it was demolished.

Local press advert.~ June 1938.


David A Elliscopyright