ABC Cinema - Maidstone, kent - Mar 08

Help Support Derelict Places:

Maniac

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
111
Reaction score
5
Location
Canterbury
Hello all,

Thought I'd start by posting some photos of what was probably my most enjoyable explore to date.

The ABC cinema in Maidstone was originaly a Granada cinema. The building was built sometime in the 1930's I think, although I'm struggling to find information, so I'm guessing by the style of the archetecture. It origenally doubled as a theatre, but was converted in the 60's, after a flood, into 3 cinema screens with a bingo hall downstairs; the Bingo side of things (now owned by gala) is still used to this day. The cinema then became Canon, who then became ABC. The cinema finally closed its doors in the late 90's I believe, when a new multiplex opened at the Lockmeadow complex nearby.

It's lain empty ever since, but someone maintains the place as it's surprsingly clean and tidy inside considering the length of time it's been empty. Because the bingo side of things is still active and the two parts of the building share the same ventilation system, the place is warm dry and quite pleasent inside, which was a nice change. It did make it feel very errie in there thou, as I'm used to buildings being cold damp and silent! You could also hear noises from the bingo hall through the floor.

Anyway, on with some pics.

Entrance Foyer area;
image106.jpg


Looking towards ticket office from main doors;
image098.jpg


Looking up the stairs to the upper foyer area
image110.jpg


Drinks or popcorn anyone?
image056.jpg


Looking the other way towards the cinema screen entrances;
image077.jpg


Cinemas 1 and 2
image078.jpg


Screen 2. I managed not to take any pics of screen 1, how silly! It's exactly the same thou, the origenal audatorium was devided in half to make two smaller cinema screens.
image030.jpg


Looking the other way;
image038.jpg


Screen 3, this was quite small, only seats about 100 or so, but it was my faviourite part as it was in very good condition, and had the most amazing decor.
image084.jpg


Looking the other way;
image095.jpg


Close up of the plasterwork on the ceiling, I think it's amazingly detailed, and the colour is still fantastic.
image094.jpg


We discovered this unusual room, curse the plonker that stuck a damn strip light right in the middle of that ceiling!
image117.jpg


And of course no cinema explore would be complete with a photo of the projector rooms. Projector room for Screen 3
image002.jpg


I managed not to get a shot of the projector room for screen 1 and 2 somehow! To finish with, a couple of roof shots, for those who know maidstone, these should look familure. Lower Stone Steet.
image144.jpg


Princes Avenue
image149.jpg


I hope you enjoyed my first report on here, and please forgive if I've not followed your protocol, I did read all the information first, so I should have it right!

Maniac
 

Goldie87

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2007
Messages
1,439
Reaction score
1,601
Location
Leicester
Looks interesting, like the plasterwork. As well as the main ABC in Leicester (now demolished) they also owned a smaller cinema nearby. Its still open and i'm sure the foyer has still got the same ABC color scheme, carpets, and signs as the one in your pics.
 

abandoneduk

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
33
Reaction score
2
got some good shots there manica, hoping to go back there soon to take some more better pictures
 

sqwasher

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
399
Reaction score
30
Location
North of Leeds
Good report! You can't beat a good cinema, Bradford Odeon was great when we were in there, well done. :)
 
Last edited:

Maniac

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
111
Reaction score
5
Location
Canterbury
Thanks for the comments people!

@smileysal - it is amazingly tidy inside for somewhere that's been empty that long, almost surreal. e.g the upper foyer area (as I called it) is missing all its ceiling tiles, you'd expect to see them strewn all over the place, but insted the floor is clear and surprisngly clean!

@sqwasher - I think Bradford Odeon is 10x better than this place. It's not bad as cinemas go, but it's not that big as a majority of the floorspace was devoted to the bingo hall downstairs. There are an amazing amount of corridors, offices and random rooms in the building thou.

@everyone - Thanks for looking!

Maniac.
 

Phatb

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
That's so weird. I used to go there most saturdays as a kid when it cost a whole £1.20 back in about 1990.

I don't recall that random room with the striplight though.

Nice to see it again. Ta muchly
 

copie

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Thank you so much for this report, i also used to go there alot as a child and have always wondered what happened this place, it is just as i thought it would be,

I would love to have a first hand look for my self.
 

vervegirl

New member
Joined
May 3, 2009
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. I drive past the old cinema regularly and have often wondered what it looks like now behind those foyer doors.

I used to work in this cinema (which I still think of as "The Granada"); twice in fact. The first time was in my spare time while I was still at school. This was my first job and I worked as an usherette a couple of evenings per week. That was about 1970 and, at that time, it was still one big cinema, though the stalls weren't in use as it was after the flood. The second time I worked there was in the mid to late seventies as a temporary measure when I was looking for a permanent job. This was after the introduction of the three screens.

Amazingly, in 1967, I saw The Who play live there! They were part of what used to be known as a "pop package" and shared the bill with The Herd, Traffic, The Tremeloes, The Dream and Marmalade. I remember it was compered by Ray Cameron.

If you plan to go there again, I'd be interested to know. If you have no objection, I could come too and bring my camera, of course!
 

Maniac

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
111
Reaction score
5
Location
Canterbury
Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. I drive past the old cinema regularly and have often wondered what it looks like now behind those foyer doors.

I used to work in this cinema (which I still think of as "The Granada"); twice in fact. The first time was in my spare time while I was still at school. This was my first job and I worked as an usherette a couple of evenings per week. That was about 1970 and, at that time, it was still one big cinema, though the stalls weren't in use as it was after the flood. The second time I worked there was in the mid to late seventies as a temporary measure when I was looking for a permanent job. This was after the introduction of the three screens.

Amazingly, in 1967, I saw The Who play live there! They were part of what used to be known as a "pop package" and shared the bill with The Herd, Traffic, The Tremeloes, The Dream and Marmalade. I remember it was compered by Ray Cameron.

If you plan to go there again, I'd be interested to know. If you have no objection, I could come too and bring my camera, of course!

Wow, thanks for the information there. It's great to hear from people who knew these places when they were actually in use. I would love to revisit this place, but unfortunitely due to circumstances beyond my control, it's not possible to visit any more which is a shame. :(

Maniac.
 

Lightbuoy

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
105
Location
Severalls Hospital
Looks good Maniac -shame it's been split-up, but looks to be in fair shape, considering it's derelict. Lovely architectural detailing too:)

Thanks.
 

dw349

New member
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
The first time I went to this cinema was when it was one big cinema when I was 5 to see the Jungle Book in about 1969 (cannot remember if it was after the flood as I think the seats in the stalls were not there). After the flood it was modified and re-opened with two screens (I went to see the Aristocats which was on upon re-opening). The large cinema was the old upper seating area and bingo hall in what was the the stalls. Some years later the upper screen was split into two. I remember the downstairs foyer was a cafe as it was opposite what used to be the bus station but is now offices. I went to the cinema in its last years as it was very cheap and a lot of people were going to the newly opened Virgin Multiplex at Medway Valley Park so there were not very many people there which was a contrast to when I was a child and you had to stand in a long queue for an hour or longer before the screening and may still not get in

The original organ was shipped to Australia and there are pictures of the cinema in its original state in the links below.

http://www.theatreorgans.com/southerncross/queensland/KelvinGrove.htm

http://www.tosa-qld.org/about.html
 

zelliott

Regular Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Maidstone
ha, tried to get into here yesterday.

failed epically, ended up stuck in back room with the roof knocked through that i couldnt get out of, and got arrested ):

wouldnt reccomend anyone going near there for a while tbh.
 

thebluefox

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Very nice pics, I managed to get into the main ABC in Leicester before it was demolished and it was very similar, although the foyer was a little more 'unique'.
 

Cinema Dreamer

Regular Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
7
Very nice up to a point. I love old cinemas but I hate photobucket. Did you get into the original auditorium?
 

Latest posts

Top