Saving Chester’s Cinema History From The Skip

Roger has taken a keen interest in preserving items of interest from local cinemas, and of course the Royalty theatre which showed the first projected films to an audience.

Curtains, seats, footlights, exit boxes, light fitting, even plaster work, he has saved all these important cinema artifacts from being destined to the skips as the cinemas were altered or closed. Much of the saved material Roger has diligently restored back to the original condition.



ABC Light fittings


The original pendant light fitting that was in a set of three that hung overhead in the rear circle of the ABC Regal.      All three were saved and restored by Roger Shone


seen in their original position


ABC Plaster work

The grill work shown in position

A section of the ornate ABC plaster grill work that has been saved



When Chester’s most popular cinema closed it’s doors for the last time on Thursday 14th June 2007, Roger moved swiftly to acquire many of the original light fittings, Pel sofas, signage, footlights, etc. These items would have been discarded by the inexperienced eye, for although the building has been restored and put to other use, most of the original fixtures and fittings were lost or damaged.

Odeon’s Pel sofa – saved!

The original ODEON footlights batten saved by Roger Shone

KFM Exit signs – saved!



Roger’s most significant and well documented salvage operation took place at the Royalty Theatre in City Road.  With his dedicated team of assistants he moved in shortly before the theatre was demolished, with David A Ellis to photograph the progress.

Having worked there, he was well acquainted with the items that were relevant to history of Chester’s theatre and cinema archives. Amazingly he removed the plaster-work that edged the stage proscenium. The two statues that had looked down onto the auditorium from it’s opening were given a new home (in his sitting room). Curtains, seating, carpets, signage, spotlights were but a few of the numerous items that Roger saved from this iconic building.


The Royal coat of arms, fixed high above the stage, was removed and carefully restored by Roger Shone, shortly before demolishion began

Seat standard removed from the Royalty c.1930

the 7 foot high plaster statues

The spotlights, before & after Roger’s refurbishment

The Royalty stage

Roger dismantling the ornate plaster-work that edged the proscenium

Roger Shone salvaging many items from Chester’s Royalty Theatre

The statues. Thanks to Roger Shone-still in existence!

The rich gold crushed velvet Royalty house tabs (curtains), with deep red fringe ~ SAVED!

The dereliction that faced Roger and his team at the Royalty Theatre




Some opportunities were missed when cinemas closed for alteration.

In Chester the closure and alteration of the Gaumont was the most significant. Claims that the building was mistakenly closed instead of the Odeon were unfounded. Designs on such projects were planned meticulously well in advance, but when the date was given the contractors moved in with a vengeance as they were usually on a penalty contract for completion.  According to cinema staff the organ console was moved into the foyer and damaged beyond repair as debris fell on to it. This along with the majority of the original Gaumont fittings and memorabilia were lost to the rubbish skips

At that time Roger would have found it impossible to be allowed access. However, with research he and David A Ellis have located many rare photographs and articles that are relevant to this magnificent structure.

Photographs of  the GAUMONT PALACE

The carpet design that was laid through the Gaumont cinema

Photographs of the Gaumont’s projection room



This page will be added to on a frequent basis