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Report - Carlisle A.B.C Cinema, nee Lonsdale Cinema.


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Opened as the Lonsdale Cinema on 21st September 1931 it was operated by Sydney Bacon Pictures Ltd. Architect Percy L. Browne & Son of Newcastle designed a superb cinema that was equipped for films and stage show use. It had a Christie 2Manual/10Rank theatre organ that was opened by Harold Meredith. The proscenium opening was 48 feet wide, the stage 26ft deep and there was six dressing rooms.

Seating was provided in stalls and balcony. A feature of the foyer decoration was a stained glass window which depicted Carlisle Castle.

From 9th July 1978 ABC leased out the cinema to an Independent operator R.J. Towers and they twinned the former balcony screen which re-opened with seating for 410 and 230 on 19th December 1978, reverting back to its original name, Lonsdale Cinema. The bingo club in the former stalls area became a Gala Bingo Club. In September 1997 a third screen seating 50 was added and the current operators, City Screens Ltd, were operating it.

City Screens Ltd. then opened another 2 screens in an adjacent building which had formerly been a post office. These seated 122 and 96 and opened on 16th July 1993. The 96 seat screen was enlarged to 116 seats in 1996. In early 2004 the Gala Bingo Club re-located to new premises and that section of the building is now un-used
Speed and I had explored this one before, but lots of the cinemas I have explored have merged into one and I could not for the life of me remember what it was like. To break the drive to Glasgow up we decided to swing past and have a look...

Most, if not all of the original features were covered over when the cinema was tripled, however the plasterwork, original light fittings and the beautiful stained glass window all survive hidden behind stud walls and plasterboard.


Original plasterwork cruely split by a wall of a new screen















This little beaut was some sort of vacume cleaner that you plugged into... although I have never been able to find one of the ports to plug in to!




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