Fond picture memories of Wigan's famous Ritz/ABC cinema

The 2,560-seat Ritz Cinema on Wigan’s Station Road was a project of George Green’s Scottish Cinemas chain, but in the early stages of construction it was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain.

It was designed by Glasgow-based architect John Fairweather and opened on March 7 1938 and was soon taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain.

In March 1962 it was re-named ABC and hosted many one night concerts on its stage, including The Beatles. On May 28 1977 it was closed for conversion into a triple-screen cinema in the former circle area with 485-seats in ABC 1, 321-seats in ABC 2 and 106-seats in ABC 3. The stalls were converted into a Gala Bingo Club and they all opened in October 1977.

The ABC was closed on March 5 1983 when it was operated by Thorn-EMI. The cinema was then re-opened by an independent operator on January 4 1984, operating as the Ritz Film Centre. It was closed on April 19 1997 and while for a short period later it ran as a specialist Asian cinema, it was demolished in 2005 to make way for the Grand Arcade shopping centre.

Ritz ABC Cinema, Station Road, Wigan

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