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Description: Discotheque Royle
Date Listed: 15 November 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 203040
OS Grid Reference: TQ0589583954
OS Grid Coordinates: 505895, 183954
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5446, -0.4743
804/21/478 HIGH STREET
15-NOV-1976 (North east side)
Formerly listed as:- HIGH STREET (North east side) The ABC Regal Cinema
Former Regal cinema, constructed 1930-31 for Uxbridge Entertainments Ltd. (a company controlled by the cinema speculator A.E. Abrahams). Architect: E. Norman Bailey. Faience frontage. Rear walls in a combination of stock brick and brown facing brick. Roof not seen on entrance front but from the rear, the pitched roof of the auditorium is visible. Stadium auditorium with small stage, behind long foyer.
EXTERIOR: Symmetrical, two-storey, Egyptianising faience facade, consisting of one wide and two narrow flanking bays. Four original doors, over which is a cantilevered canopy. Above are five tall windows (stepping-up in the centre), standing on a shallow balcony. There is one tall window in each of the flanking bays. The parapet trim is of multi-coloured faience, culminating in a keystone of the same material. The name of the cinema, REGAL, appears in faience over the tall central windows. Chevron glazing to all windows. The returns are hemmed in by adjacent property. On one corner there is a stair tower expressed as a canted bay, with rendered dressings to the windows and doorways and a stepped-up parapet.
INTERIOR: A long foyer, originally with restrained decoration, leads to a large auditorium of the stadium type, ie, where the rear seating is raised on stepping rather than having a supported balcony. The main features of the auditorium are the richly scalloped three- dimensional ceiling in the Art Deco manner (there were no light fitments, all lighting being indirect) and a curvaceous proscenium. Over a dado, the splayed ante-proscenium grills are in quasi-Chinese mode, set in stepped-up panels. They stand on monumental false balconies of horizontal banding, between superimposed torcheres over circular banded terminals and
flanked by fluted pilasters. Similar pilasters also divide up the side walls, which are enlivened with low relief cloud-like formations and sun bursts (some of it pierced for ventilation grilles). Cornice of broad fluting. There are particularly elaborate treatments for the surrounds to the side doors in the form of Egyptian sun disks flanked by stylized Iyriform horns, which are then connected beneath the disks. In addition, there are two vomitory entrances in the raised seating area. The Compton cinema organ survives, although the console is no longer in its original position in the orchestra pit. Shallow stage.
ANALYSIS: A fine example of a 1930s super-cinema, having an interesting facade in the Egyptianising taste and an exceptional interior, which the author David Atwell refers to as' one of the most highly developed exercises in Art Deco attempted in any cinema'. The finest surviving work of the cinema architect E Norman Bailey. The building closed as a cinema in 1977.
SOURCES: David Atwell, Cathedrals of the Movies, The Architectural Press, London, 1980, pages 11-111, 101 and 104-105.
Bridge Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of England -London 3: North West, Penguin Books, London, 1991, page 365.
Allen Eyles, ABC -The First Name in Entertainment, Cinema Theatre Association, Burgess Hill, 1993, pages 25 and 156.
Richard Gray, Cinemas in Britain, Lund Humphries, London, 1996, pages 114-5 and 136.
Listing NGR: TQ0589583954
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.