ABC Regal Aberdeen
Built on the site of the Gaiety/Palladium Cinema, this was originally planned by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain ‘in-house’ architect William R. Glen in 1939. Due to the outbreak of World War II, it was put on hold. After the war, architect C.J. Foster amended the plans and it was built, and opened as the Regal Cinema on 26th July 1954 with Robert Taylor in “Knights of the Round Table”. Film stars Richard Todd & Ann Crawford appeared in person, and organist Hubert Selby played the Hammond (LaFleur) electronic organ which ABC were touring around some of their cinemas at that time. Seating in the 1,914-seat single auditorium was provided in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 47 feet wide. There were two entrances one on 35 Union Street through which the cinema was reached along a long passageway, and another at the rear on 10 Ship Row.
The Regal Cinema was re-named ABC on 24th March 1962. Closed in May 1974 for tripling, ABC 1 opened on 3rd June 1974 with 600 seats in the former circle area. ABC 2 & 3 opened in the former rear stalls area on 8th July 1974 with 153 & 147 seats. It was taken over by the Cannon Group in June 1987, and re-named Cannon. The Cannon was closed in January 1998, and was later demolished.
The Lighthouse muiltiplex cinema was built on the site, which opened in April 2001, and since 2004 has operated as the 7-screen Vue Cinema.
Note: Most of photographs are historical archive and there are third party copyright interests included for research purposes only. For further research see links at foot of page
The ABC Regal Cinema was build on the site previously occupied by the Gaiety Cinema (later New Gaiety, then Palladium)
The Gaiety occupied at site at 10 Shiprow and was Aberdeen’s first Permanent Cinema opening on 5th September 1908.
The building was a conversion of the 1878 built St. Katherine’s Hall and run by Dove Paterson until his lease expired in autumn of 1914. In 1915, it was re-opened by Henry Phillips (after some improvements to decoration and ventilation) and re-named New Gaiety Cinema. Unique to the New Gaiety was a weekly ‘Roll of Honour’ film for which friends and relatives submitted photographs of men on active service. Programmes changed mid-week (as a split week second run hall) It was refurbished and re-named Palladium Cinema from 5th May 1919 operating as cine-variety - new tip-up seating installed and continuous performances introduced In 1929-30 the Palladium was subject to detailed plans to extend the building, enlarge seating to over 1000, with added billiard room, tea room and staff accommodation but these plans were abandoned and the cinema was closed in the summer of 1930 and became derelict.
In early 1937 Aberdeen Picture Palaces took out a three month option to buy the Palladium site and build a 3000 seat cinema with main entrance on Union Street. However an offer to buy was accepted in August 1937, the building was sold to the Associated British Cinemas (ABC) chain, who drew up plans to demolish the Palladium Cinema and build a new Regal Cinema on the site, designed by their ‘in-house’ architect William R. Glen. However, World War II intervened in 1939, and it wasn’t until 1954 that the Regal Cinema was built to the revised plans of C.J. Foster.
(Image courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Archive - Tony Moss Collection )