Ritz Cinema, Maidenhead.

1968

Ritz Cinema

Crown Lane,

Maidenhead, SL6 1QR

 

 

Original owners: Union Cinemas and was run by Oxford and Berkshire Cinema Co.

Architect:  AH Jones.

Date opened by the Mayor:  Sunday 26th January 1936.

First film shown:  ‘Our Little Girl’, starring Shirley Temple and Joel McCrea.

Seating Capacity: 748- stadium.

Taken over in October 1937 by:  Associated British Cinemas Ltd (ABC).

Date closed:  1944.

Building demolished: 2015.

Present use:  Car park.

 

The Ritz Maidenhead in Berkshire was erected on the site of the Palace. The Ritz was built for Union Cinemas and was run by Oxford and Berkshire Cinema Co. It stood opposite the Rialto Cinema, which had opened in 1927, also run by Union.

Union-Rialto, Maidenhead 1936.

The Rialto carried on until 1985 as the ABC.

 

The Ritz Cinema was a one level, stadium hall, housing under 800 seats.

Shown on the opening night.

The cinema, designed by AH Jones, opened on Sunday 26th January 1936.

The Mayor was accompanied by Hugh Wakefield and Barbara Green, who was a young film star.  The Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards band played them into the building.

The Mayor declared the cinema open with the words “I dedicate this Kinema to the happiness and enjoyment of the people of Maidenhead”.

Click on the above frame to view the opening night.

There was a small canopy and there was what was described as brilliant neon in three strips up to the centre of the frontage. The word Ritz was in large lettering on the canopy. The front walls were particularly noticeable for the neat frames which did away with unsightly poster boards.

Four swing doors led to a small vestibule. The decoration was simple but striking. All doors were finished in black with stainless steel trims. On the right of the vestibule stood the paybox. Entrance to the auditorium was through two doors, one on each side of the vestibule. On the left side there were two more doors, one leading to the projection room, the other to the office.

The Art Deco style auditorium was long and sloped for nearly two thirds of its length, with the same delicate shades of green and orange colouring on its walls as the vestibule.

A large Bulman Jupiter screen, which measured 14ft by 18 feet was used. The projection room was small, housing two Simplex machines and Stelmar high intensity arcs. Western Electric provided the sound. There was also a spot light. The rewind room  was at the extreme of the block. A notable feature of the projection room was the safety trap in the roof for easy escape in case of fire.

It became the ABC in October 1937.

The building closed for good as a cinema in 1944. It was then occupied by various businesses and finally demolished during 2015. The site is now a car park.

 

David A Ellis © chestercinemas.co.uk

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