Regal Cinema, Nantwich.

Regal Cinema

1-3 Churchyardside,

Nantwich, CW5 5DE


Original Owner:  Thomas E Markam.

Architect:  Nicholas Hartley Hacking of Manchester.

Seating Capacity:  1200.

Opened By:  Henry Tollemache; J.P.

First Film Shown:   ‘Broken Blossoms’, starring Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp.

Last General Manager:  Dorothy Myford.

Final Film Shown:  “Born Free”, starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers

Date Closed:  Saturday 17th September 1966.

Building Extant:  



The Regal cinema, in the small town of Nantwich, near Crewe was first known as the Old Wyche Theatre in Church side and opened on 11th October 1920.

The old Wyche belonged to Thomas E Markam, who ran several halls, including the Palladium, Whitchurch. The building was designed by a Mr N H Hacking of Manchester and cost between nine and ten thousand pounds to build.

There was a brick turreted tower on the corner entrance and seating was for around 1400. There were Tudor style gables along the side walls.

The impressive café of the Old Wyche.

The proscenium was twenty-five feet wide and the small stage was used for live entertainment. The building also housed a substantial café on the first floor.

There were six main exits and five emergency exits. The decoration was in Wedgwood colours There was also decorative plasterwork to add to the atmosphere.

It was opened by a Mr Henry Tollemache a conservative politician. The first film to be screened was ‘Broken Blossoms’, starring Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp.  A piano was used in the silent days during afternoon performances and a violin and piano in the evenings.

In 1930 sound was installed and it was equipped a BTH system. Later, this was changed to Western Electric.

A 1930s photograph of the Old Wyche Cinema, Nantwich,1200 seat auditorium.

In 1942 the Old Wyche was run by Southan Morris and it became known as just the Wyche.

From 19th October 1942 it became the Regal. The first film under the new name was called ‘Uncensored’, a war drama. The last film under the Wyche name was ‘The Spoilers’.

In 1946 Sunday opening was introduced.

In 1954 the Regal became part of the SM Associated group, the Essoldo circuit, having acquired control of the SM circuit. On August 11th 1955 the cinema screened its first cinemascope offering ‘King of the Khyber Rifles’ starring Tyrone Power.

The cinema continued until Saturday 17th September 1966 and closed with ‘Born Free’ starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers . The last person to manage the theatre was a Dorothy Myford. It seems management of the cinema was mostly undertaken by a woman. Previous managers included a Mrs Lyon and a Madge Careful. Mrs Myford had been a cashier and had managed the theatre for the last eight years of the cinema’s life.

The final film shown at the Regal

Up in the operating box to screen the final film was chief operator Derek Jackson. He had worked part time at the cinema for a number of years. By day he was a dairy man.

After the closure and a period of standing empty it became the head office of Chatwin’s, the bakers. Eventually a new bakery was built alongside the cinema. The rear of the old cinema’s auditorium was partly demolished.

Nantwich was also home to the Cosy cinema.


David A Ellis/ Bryan Lindop ©