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Newbury cinema: A trip down memory lane





From first dates to summer holiday fun, Newbury’s cinema holds a special place in many hearts.

Here we take a trip down memory lane – and through our archives – to reminisce about a bygone time.

Newbury Cinema 1975
Newbury Cinema 1975

The cinema, which was based in Park Way, was first opened as The Forum Cinema, in November 1939, showing George Formby in Trouble Brewing and Killers of the Sea.

Some of the more memorable moments from the life of Newbury’s cinema were captured by the Newbury Weekly News.

Newbury Cinema manager Noel Briggs in 1981
Newbury Cinema manager Noel Briggs in 1981

In 1981, one of the town’s most well-known and liked personalities, Noel Briggs, retired as manager of the ABC after 23 years of service.

Two years later, the projectionist, Ray Worger celebrated 25 years working at the cinema.

He was presented with a special clock to mark his quarter century of service.

Queuing along Park Way to see Jurassic Park in 1993
Queuing along Park Way to see Jurassic Park in 1993

Jurassic Park 'junkies' lined Park Way in 1993 to see the blockbuster on the first day of release.

Some punters – who began queuing three hours before the screening – were photographed by this paper.

The cinema was apparently “packed” but they hadn’t been forced to turn anyone away.

And the film has even helped the local economy, with two extra cinema staff taken on to cope with demand.

Refurbishment in 1972
Refurbishment in 1972

Throughout its life in Park Way, the cinema was taken over by a number of different companies.

On August 30, 1943 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC).

In 1972 it underwent a refurbishment, reopening as a 484-seat cinema and an Alpha Bingo Club, which operated in the former stalls area.

1985
1985
Newbury Cinema 1972
Newbury Cinema 1972

In the 80s it was taken on by the Cannon Group – which became MGM - and renamed Cannon, but this was a shortlived ownership and it was taken over once more - by the Robins Cinemas chain.

The final cinema on that site closed in November 1998 and the building was eventually converted into a fitness club.

Ray Worger celebrates 25 years working at the cinema in 1983
Ray Worger celebrates 25 years working at the cinema in 1983

Newbury’s Vue Cinema opened in the Kennet Shopping centre on November 13, 2009.



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