Fareham, PO16 0AB
Date opened: 19th April 1938.
Date closed: 27th August 1983.
Owners: Shipman & King.
Architect: David Evelyn Nye.
Additional plaster work designed by: Mollo and Egan.
Seating Capacity: 1100.
First film shown: “Dr.Syn” starring George Arlis and Margaret Lockwood.
Final film shown: “Superman III” starring Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor.
Opening as a Music Hall in 1906, the Alexandra Theatre began showing films a few years later as a programme filler. During 1928 the owner, William Bonwick, had the theatre reconstructed, increasing the seating from 400 to 650.
The building lasted another five years, closing in 1933. It was then demolished and the site was acquired by Shipman and King for their new Embassy cinema.
The architect for the new cinema was David Nye, designed the building with a narrow box facade with a set of three prominent vertical concrete fin columns on the central structure. With six porthole windows and a series of horizontal ribbing stone bands running across the set back walls gave this frontage a cluttered appearance with too much detail in such a restricted space. A deep canopy shielded the steps leading up to the entrance doors with a large and impressive neon sign attached along the top edge.
The seating capacity of 1100 seats was distributed between the balcony and stalls. The splay walls either side of the well proportioned proscenium had framed fibrous grill effect plaster work designed by Mollo and Egan, and characteristic of many cinemas in the Shipman and King circuit. The ceiling had a stepped down design which directed the eye towards the stage area.
Captain Manley-Power performed the official opening on 19th April 1938. The first film shown was ~ “Dr.Syn” starring George Arlis and Margaret Lockwood.
It was closed by EMI on 27th August 1983 with “Superman III”, the reason given was the high cost of rewiring and repairs.
It was demolished during 1984 and replaced with a McDonald’s restaurant.