Tunbridge Wells

Opera House Tunbridge Wells

The Opera House, as its name suggests, was not originally a cinema at all, but in common with the ABC and two other cinemas in the town was operated for a time by Union Cinemas. According to Mervyn Collard, the building was still in use as a theatre in the days when it showed films and hence films were back-projected from the rear of the stage.

Opera House Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
Opera House Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
Opera House Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
Opera House Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front

ABC Tunbridge Wells

The 1,600-seat Ritz - "Kent's most luxurious cinema" and a part of the Union Cinemas circuit - opened on 3rd December 1934: when I took the photographs in early 2006 - just a few weeks prior to the building's planned demolition - there was still visible, painted on the rear of the building, a faded "Ritz" sign. The first programme, which punters could watch for 3d, was headed by Gracie Fields' Sing As We Go. It become the Essoldo in 1954.

ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - detail
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - rear
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - rear with visible "Ritz" sign
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - attached shops with auditorium behind
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - attached shops with auditorium behind
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - front
ABC Tunbridge Wells 2006 - aerial showing layout

Ritz ABC Cinema Project

Chronicle of the demolition of the Tunbridge Wells Ritz (later Cannon and ABC) cinema, primarily comprising a large number of arty monochrome photographs of the site.