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Swamp_Donkey

Tunbridge Wells Cinema, Report 9/4/09

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Visited with my mate Nasher. After a recce with Maniac and Cave Zombie, i decided this must be done. Although was originally planned to go with Maniac, due to his busy lifestyle we couldn't fit it in.

A bit of history:

The derelict site on Mount Pleasant Road has stood abandoned since October 29, 2000, when ABC bosses announced the termination of business despite opposition from users. It took just 20 weeks to build the 1,600-seat Ritz complex, which used the slope of the hill for the auditorium and boasted a 15-shop corner frontage on the Church Road junction. It also housed a £7,000 Compton organ which was removed when the cinema split in two in 1970, 16 years after it became the Essoldo.

Staff included four projectionists, four doormen, salesgirls, a car park attendant, a page boy, waitresses in the Florida restaurant and 13 usherettes. The Essoldo became the Classic in 1972 and a low ceilinged 123-seat cinema was created in the old Florida restaurant.

In 1982 the cinema was taken over by Cannon and 11 years later it became the MGM before taking its final name – ABC – in 1966. Despite the many changes and modernisation over the years, which included the concealment of 1930s details such as organ grilles.

Now it stands absolutly wrecked by vandalism, pigeons and water damage on a frightenly dangerous level. So bad that the whole entrance area's ceiling has come down.

On with the few pictures i took.

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Coming soon...... A pond life attack.

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Quite alot of police tape was lying around, almost everywhere. On to the 2nd screen, where Nasher decided he wanted to pose.

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I was majorly gutted to see that every single seat had been ripped out.

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And on to Screen 1, which is now an massive empty space so didn't take no photo's, but the projection room was rather interesting.

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I believe this was some sort of projector.

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Some old reels and fianlly, some electrics...

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I did feel a bit disapointed by this, it is so trashed it really is a death trap. Not to mention the smell of pigeons and disease. Don't attempt it unless you have a hard hat, and at least a dust mask.

Big thanks to Maniac on this one. If it weren't for the recce he organised i would of never of got this done. And on his request it is the private forum, but after all that police tape thought it would be best anyway.

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