EXCLUSIVE: City's historic cinema to close
PLYMOUTH'S oldest cinema – which once hosted a Beatles
concert – is rumoured to be closing in October.
A source has told The Herald that The Reel Cinema, formerly
known as the ABC, will close its doors on October 2.
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The cinema, which will have been open for 70 years next
Tuesday, is understood to be making its staff redundant.
Reel Cinema bosses were remaining tight-lipped last night,
refusing to confirm or deny the news.
However, Reel Cinemas director Kailash Chander Sri admitted
that meetings would be held next week on the cinema's
The cinema, which stands behind the Travelodge at Derry's
Cross, was built in 1938 as The Royal Cinema on the site of the
old 1813 Theatre Royal, which had been pulled down the year
From the start it was owned by ABC – Associated British
Cinemas – and, at the time of construction, to a design by
ABC's in-house architect William Riddle Glen, its address was
At construction, which saw 30,000 tons of rock dragged from
the site, the Royal Cinema had 2,404 seats.
The cinema was opened on July 15, 1938, by Mayor S Stephens,
and the first films to be shown were Stage Door and Dangerously
As well as a state-of-the-art sound system there was also a
Compton Cinema organ with an illuminated console.
The cinema was renamed ABC on October 26, 1958, and went on
to host The Beatles, Cream, Deep Purple and T Rex in the '60s
and '70s when it used to double as a theatre.
It closed in 1976 and reopened the next year with the one
screen now divided into three and part of the site sectioned
off as a bingo hall.
It was renamed Cannon in 1987 and MGM in 1992 before
reverting to ABC, and it was taken over and became Reel
Cinemas, on August 1, 2006.
Reel is a chain of independent cinemas, owned by
Loughborough-based businessman Kailash Chander Suri.
The 53-year-old property developer refused to comment on the
cinema's future, or staff redundancies.
However, he admitted he was unable to confirm that the
cinema would stay open.
He said: “At the moment I can't comment on anything.
“I have to check with my operations team – we'll be meeting
“There will be a meeting at the tail-end of next week with
my accounts people.
“I can't confirm it will stay open, and I can't confirm it