Robins Cinema, Camberley, Surrey May 2012

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prettyvacant71

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Hello there everyone!:)

Thanks to the recent great reports here I had to go and make a visit myself, as I had made a mental note when I drove past it a few years ago, but I’m so mental I forgot:confused:. It didn’t have the 12ft high boarding around it then, which is just in the way for getting a nice low shot as from behind the fence you are just a bit too near to the building...but there’s a really great shot taken with a fisheye in a report by Strider8173 which really works well.

Back in 1998, which seems much longer ago than it really is, the ex and me borrowed some kids to go and see the Antz movie, it was the second CGI film released after Toy Story, the first film released by DreamWorks...I had to look that bit up so I could find out the year I last saw a film there. I use to go to Robins every now and then when I lived in Woking, even though Woking has a much bigger multi screened complex with more comfortable seats, I really liked the uniqueness of the Art Deco cinema with its 3 small “cosy” screens, blown speakers, cramped seating (that looked great with their plush red velvet) dodgy smelling aromas and carpets that tried to remove the soles of your shoes with its thick layer of chewing gum. But it was my cinema of choice as it has something that all new cinemas lack, character...plus it was much cheaper than anywhere else!

a little history...

It was known locally as the “flea pit” and you either loved or hated it, you would either go out of your way to go to it or go out of your way to go to another cinema. It was designed by the architect Harold Seymour Scott in the typical Art Deco style of its period. During its lifetime it had various refurbishments and many different owners and name changes. It first opened its doors as the Regal in 1932, then the Odeon in 1946, it was renamed the Classic in 1967 after the Classic chain of cinemas bought it, the Cannon Group changed it to, yeah, you guessed it, the Cannon in 1982 (I remember the rivalry between Cannon and Odeon...oooOOOooo it got nasty,:mrgreen: i remember in the mid 80s a mates older brother who worked at a cannon was asked by his supervisor, who weren't much older than him, if he could take a dump on one of the seats in guildfords odeon to give them some grief :lol:) then finally in 1994 the small independent Robins Cinema chain took over and turned the former cafe into the Sovereign Snooker Hall.

Sadly 2 big fires, one in 2006 and a bigger one in 2009 have destroyed the snooker hall downstairs and made the building too expensive for restoration so it’s slowly being vandalised awaiting demolition...very sad. It took 10 appliances all night to put out the fire. People adjacent to the building had to be evacuated, the local TA provided food for them whilst the council found them accommodation for the night.

A quite freaky coincidence happened on my second visit. When I first went a few weeks ago I hadn’t checked the batteries in my torch so I only took some shots from the outside...there was no way I was gona go in there without any lighting, it was pitch black in the foyer and the entrance is a smallish hole which hardly lets any light in. So on my return trip, with 2 torches!! I stopped off to see a good mate who lives not far from it, and their mate heard me saying about me going there so all 3 of us went. It wasn’t until we were there that my mate’s friend said that it was his younger brother that had burnt the place down 3 years ago!:mad::mad::mad: I did feel like hanging him off the roof top upside down dangling him by one foot and do a bit of “by proxy punishment” but shamefully I wasn’t strong enough (so i just pushed him off:icon_evil.:lol:) Sadly people are also taking souvenirs, or nicking stuff really, because I couldn’t see some of the bits that had been photographed in other recent reports, which is a shame, I didn’t get to spend as long as I’d like to in there so I shall have to go back before there nothing left!

Now here’s the pics.....


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At the back of the cinema the old Odeon sign can still be seen




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Inside the foyer, sadly most the bits have been stolen or destroyed




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The doors of the ground floor snooker hall. Its vertically pitch black inside with exception of the patch of light from the way in.




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It was a bit of a surprise when I saw this photo as I couldn’t see a thing in here. I focused on that small glint of light coming from the boarded up window at the top of the staires and took a 30 sec exposure and filled in the rest with the torch...but I didn’t see the extent of the paint peeling off until I saw the photo, then I didn’t recognise it as I couldn’t see all of this with the torchlight.



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The label said these were last tested in 1977




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The last few shreds of the silver screen




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The projection room...is that an order on the door??




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35mm file lying about




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One of the smaller film spools with a film can, the larger spools Ive seen in other reports seem to have disappeared :cry: im not over reactin




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I think this maybe a Fresnel lamp as its got the barn doors, but no glass which would identify it.




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View from on the roof...no climbing or dodgy ladders involved, some nice little concrete steps...ah relief!




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The London Rd/A30


Thanks for looking folks.....safe exploring!;)
 

flyboys90

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Thats a great write up, one day it will be regreted how & why all these wonderful buildings were destroyed! it most certainly isn,t progress.We used to have a cinema nicknamed the flea pit also rumour was " you got a bottle and a hammer and if you caught 6 you got your money back!
 

UE-OMJ

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Good report - very good pics, eps inside the cinema itself.

Regarding the lad who burned it down 3 years ago? Did he get done for it back then? I hope so, if not it's never too late...


I always get a shock of how dark 'pitch black' really is, we live in a country full of light polution and so night time is never really truely dark. It's only when you go into places like this and turn off the torch you fully appreciate it, and then you thank god your batteries didnt fail when you make it out. I have a backup wind up torch, but I always forget it and leave it in the car :lol:
 
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skeleton key

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Brilliant!!!!

Agreed Mate might just have to poke our heads in there when in that neck of the woods lol
Chee'rs OMJ
Hey & learn to start clicking the thank button you ;)
Always nice to be nice
Cheers fella
Big thumbs up

SK :)
 

prettyvacant71

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Good report - very good pics, eps inside the cinema itself.

Regarding the lad who burned it down 3 years ago? Did he get done for it back then? I hope so, if not it's never too late...


I always get a shock of how dark 'pitch black' really is, we live in a country full of light polution and so night time is never really truely dark. It's only when you go into places like this and turn off the torch you fully appreciate it, and then you thank god your batteries didnt fail when you make it out. I have a backup wind up torch, but I always forget it and leave it in the car :lol:

Cheers mate! Its funny you ask cause that lad was actually done for the arson,(small fine and probation i think which is REALLY RARE as you usually need shed loads of evidence, independant witnesses and a few bent coppers to get a conviction these days:)
True wot you say about light pollution...and torches! I had one of them wind up torches once and the dam speed i had to wind the handle up, like 40,000 rpm, i use to think the bloody thing would burst into flames before it had enough power to work...that would probably of been more useful as it weren't half dim:)
 

Steve101

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Hi mate, I went the last week 07/10/12 and couldn't find a way in to i had to use some wooden planks to boost my self up and climb through a small air vent (Next to the stairs on the left side). How did you get in? Any very nice pictures
 

Bones out

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Hi mate, I went the last week 07/10/12 and couldn't find a way in to i had to use some wooden planks to boost my self up and climb through a small air vent (Next to the stairs on the left side). How did you get in? Any very nice pictures

Steve fella, remember its an open forum.. Never a good idea to give exact dates or access details... The whole world of metal thieves, security and such like check out these forums....
 
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DARREN138

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Wonderful!!!

Excellent report sir. I do not think there is a sadder site than that of a classic cinema ready for demolition. One by one these superb buildings are being lost and by the time that someone with the ability to stop this Architectural Genocide does something about it,then it will be much too late. All reports on buildings such as this are great to see,so many thanks
 

prettyvacant71

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Excellent report sir. I do not think there is a sadder site than that of a classic cinema ready for demolition. One by one these superb buildings are being lost and by the time that someone with the ability to stop this Architectural Genocide does something about it,then it will be much too late. All reports on buildings such as this are great to see,so many thanks

totally agree with you mate, its so sad that it all boils down to money....flatten the beautiful past to make way for cheap souless housing of bland offices:mad:
 

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