By TheBaronof Scotland
Great explore with SK, Lara, Troglodtye and Peach
After exploring some tunnels that would of took a match at one point to replicate a scene from backdraft we decided to try a cinema, after enquiring with some car washing guys how much a mini valet was we decided the best way to approach
Once in, and meeting several spiders in the process we enjoyed a pretty chilled explore, lovely building and many many original features still in situ, no bingo hall conversions here
I've got a bit of a thing for theatres and cinemas and this one had been tightly sealed for many years and had the reputation of being a real tough nut to crack. When I heard there was a whiff of a chance I realised that I had to act quick if I was to get inside this rather special place. I'm certainly glad I made the effort!
Here's a bit of history n' stuff -
The ABC Cinema is Grade II listed. It rounds the corner of Lime Street and is one of the first historic buildings, still standing, that visitors see when leaving Lime Street Station.
ABC acquired the building in 1930, known as The Forum, it opened a year later to become one of the finest cinemas of the era.
The six storey exterior was designed by A. E. Shannon and its sleek portland stone has very little decoration other than motifs over the entrance. Despite this, the building remains a very distinct feature on Lime Street. The building is listed for its grand interior, which was later subdivided, which is said to remain one of designer William R. Glen's best cinemas.
There's a news report from December 2016 reporting that the City Council had sold the building to Neptune Investments who say “The next major phase of Lime Street regeneration is now coming forward with the refurbishment and re-opening of the former ABC cinema building on the corner of Lime Street as a major new music and live entertainment venue for the city.”
A planning application is due to be submitted shortly, with an aim of giving the city a venue of "international standing", that will see the former cinema converted to hold crowds of up to 1,500 for live performances in its famous auditorium, with complementary ancillary uses.
This big complex closed down in 2006, with almost 3500 seats in 15 différents cinema room.
Now it's a 21,515 square meters ghost town. The building is in poor condition.
The business was managed by a Chinese billionaire.
But he had some troubles with the justice and has few years in jail.
Inside, the temperature was around 40 degrees.
And unfortunately the cops caught us, before we visited the whole area.
This one is quite a personal report for me. My mum remembers with fondness visiting the local cinema. During the 1940's and 50's before homes had TVs it wasn't just films that were shown - this is where you could see footage of the important news events of the day. For example she remembers school visits to see the Queens coronation and the celebration of Edmund Hillary conquering Everest.
The Coliseum opened in 1931 with "Romance" starring Greta Garbo. It was partly art-deco style and seated 630. Its sound system was state of the art for its day and widely acknowledged as being perfect. Fast forward to 1983 and the management decided that it was no longer financially viable.
However, the locals were not prepared to see their beloved picture house bite the dust so they clubbed together and it re-opened in 1984 and was mostly run by volunteers. 1,000 residents bought £50,000 worth of shares. Things seemed to be going well - in 1995 it hosted a European Premiere of First Knight starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere (although they didn't appear on the red carpet).
Sadly despite all the efforts the venture couldn't carry on and the doors finally shut in January 2011. Worse news was to arrive 2014, when the group set up to save the cinema had its plans rejected by the Coliseum Shareholders, who voted to sell the property rather than grant a long-term lease to the Friends of The Coliseum. Once in the hands of the developers the game was up.
I had been keeping an eye on the place for some time in the hope that I could have a sneaky mooch around inside. No such luck, I also asked for a permission visit but as there's no money in it for the developers this was ignored.
So one day last February I happened to get speaking to the guy who was taking the seats out ready to be shipped to Sheffield. I was only able to take a few crap hurried shots in the dark auditorium. A couple of days later I had another look around the back and... BOOM.... an entry point! Perseverance had paid off in the nick of time.
The photos you see were taken just a few days before demolition began. Almost one year on there's no apartments or redevelopment, just an empty space.
The projectionists room
A poignant reminder
There were many quotes on the walls upstairs from classic films written by the projectionists over the years
The lost property box
I just wondered about all the people that would have gone up these stairs full of anticipation...
Finally an exterior shot (not mine) taken during the good times. Some much older photos show it originally had a porch above the front steps and some 'embellishments' either side of the name.
Well that's all folks - thanks for looking