Tatler (Classic) Cinema, Chester.

Tatler (Classic) Chester

52 Foregate Street,

 Chester, CH1 1HA


Date Opened as a news theatre – Wednesday 2nd December 1936. 

First feature film shown: “It Happened One Night” starring Clarke Gable. 

Original owner: Corry Fennel for Chester (Times) Theatres Ltd.

Total seating capacity (stalls & balcony) – 530 seats

Architects: William and Segar Owen.

One of the local associated building contractors:  Arthur Moorcroft.

Building cost: £20.000.

First General Manager (TIC): Cyril Ray.

Cinema renamed Classic:  Monday 5th January 1958.

Last General Manager (on closing): Kathleen Jones.

Last Chief Projectionist: John Lightfoot.

Final film on the late night show: “Accident” starring Dirk Bogart.

Date Closed – Saturday 19th December (late night show into 20th December) 1970.

Building demolished – Spring 1971.




Two months after the opening of Chester’s Odeon, The Tatler
opened on Wednesday 2nd December 1936 as a news theatre.
Renamed Classic on Monday 5th January 1958 by the new owners Capital & Provincial News Theatres Ltd, London. Thus bringing the business into the company’s branding of their other seventeen UK cinemas.
Initially, the programme consisted of cartoons, comedy, travel,
sport and news. Wide aisles and cross over gangways were
part of the plan to assist a continually changing audience. The way that the cinema was constructed, it was a listed as a bomb shelter during the 2nd World War.  Many people from the streets bordering Foregate Street, such as Queen Street, took shelter in the long exit area of the cinema when an air raid siren sounded.
Apart from the more recent Cineworld, the TATLER/ Classic
is the only Chester cinema that was demolished without a trace.
The entrance doors were exactly where the front doors
of the Primark store now stands.



The site on Foregate Street that was soon to become the venue of the Tatler News Theatre.

The squalor of Swan Court, off Foregate Street, that was demolished to make way for the Tatler cinema.

Groundworks for the soon to be constructed TATLER cinema

The TATLER FOYER- opening week 1936


Stalls view of the TATLER-AUDITORIUM opening week 1936



The original TATLER stage & proscenium on 1936 opening week














TATLER CASH DESK  opening week 1936 



Rear view of the TATLER AUDITORIUM opening week 1936












The new proscenium in the Classic, installed to accommodate Cinemascope  *note how the original AH grills were incorporated into the new front of screen


This aerial shot shows the massive ABC Regal & the ribbed roof of the Tatler to it’s left


Patricia Lipscombe             (Chester Memories FaceBook group 08.11.2021)

We used the passageway that was the way out of the cinema as an air raid shelter when I lived in Queen Street during the war.



Picture credits on this page- Allen Eyles/Eric Rhodes (prints ownership & copyright protected).

Photographic material researched for chestercinemas.co.uk by David A Ellis 




Click the frame above to watch the trailer for the first film shown at the Tatler

If you enjoyed going to the TATLER/Classic, or worked there at anytime, then we will be pleased to hear from you to share your thoughts.