Report - - Savoy Cinema, Kettering - April 2013 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Savoy Cinema, Kettering - April 2013


A life backwards
28DL Full Member
The explore

I have been exploring for a long time now, but it is with a dose of shame that the Savoy became my first cinema explore. I guess i have always looked for bigger fish and not given the humble picture house much attention. Well, how wrong have i been! Ok, there is no doubt that the Savoy is well trashed, but i enjoyed it here. How times have changed and so quickly with the advent of the multiplex and other forms of entertainment that fight for our leisure time. Together with the loss of so many local pubs, small shops, Post Offices and factories, it makes me wonder what form of local community (if at all) we will have.


The Savoy Cinema opened as a dual purpose cinema and theatre on 21st May 1938 with Spencer Tracey in “The Big Cityâ€￾ plus a variety show on stage. It was erected on the same site as the Coliseum Theatre which opened in 1910 but housed in a building dating from 1903. In 1937 it burned to the ground.

The Savoy Cinema was a handsome replacement with 1,150 seats in the stalls and circle. There was a full stage with a flytower, and live performances were often presented, sometimes with a resident theatre company, for example the Northampton Repertory Company presented regular seasons here between 1949 and 1951. The stage was 43 feet wide, 23 feet deep and had a 60 feet high flytower. Backstage there were seven dressing rooms and a band room.

The facade was plain, but solid, and was outlined in neon. The interior was decorated with Grecian murals, had concealled lighting and elaborated ventilation grills down the sides and above the rectangular proscenium. It was a wide and reletively shallow house, which must have given it excellent sightlines. It was taken over by the Clifton Cinemas circuit on 25th Auguat 1944.

In 1968 the circle was split off and extended forward as a smaller cinema seating 485, called the Studio, whilst bingo took over the stalls and stage area. In 1973 this screen was split into two, seating 160 and 140 and known as Studio 1 & 2. After a short closure in 1986 they were re-opened as an independent and were renamed Ohio Cinema, which finally closed in 1997 after an Odeon Multiplex arrived in town.

Vandalised and empty, the former Savoy Cinema was slated for demolition and replacement with flats. The derelict cinema was badly damaged in an arson attack which took place in the early morning of 16th September 2011. Planning permission for twenty three dwellings on the site was turned down in 2012.


A step back in time, photo undated. The stage curtain has the legend 'Safety Curtain' on it.

Bingo tables somewhere under a mountain of pigeon poop. This was the former stage.

One of the dressing rooms.

Main entrance. The two fairly small cinemas are through the doors on the left. Ice creams right. The collection of film posters shown on previous reports in the lobby have almost disappeared.

Steps to one of the screens. 'Apocalypse Kettering' now showing...

No roof on this screen, thanks to a fire in 2011.






Hand wheel for raising the curtains?





That's all folks :)


28DL Member
28DL Member
I have fond memories of myself as a 10 year old going to Saturday morning kids cinema at the Savoy which was just round the corner from Linden Avenue where we lived. Also at Christmas there were a few fully staged pantomimes. The Savoy in Russell Street had a lot of previous dramatic and variety performances plus concerts of all suits didn't the Shadows play there? The last time I looked the old building which had been closed and derelict for many a year, was gone and the site being marked out for a mini housing development. I remember the manager of the cinema was a short business like man who resided with his wife in one of those lovely bungalows in St Mary Road . There must be a generation of 60 odd year youngsters still around who also have that memory of unlimited fun and horse play on Saturday mornings...what do kids do today?