Our picture this week shows the once proud Regal Cinema in Endless Street looking pitifully sad and abandoned.

The Regal Cinema opened on February 22 1937 with Shirley Temple starring in “Captain January” supported by Joseph Schmidt in “A Star Fell from Heaven”.

The cinema manager at the time was Mr H.M. Burge.

The architect was W.R. Glen F.R.I.A.S. and the new cinema had room for 964 in the stalls and 644 in the circle.

An organ pit was constructed but the instrument was never installed – the story was that Cathedral authorities would not allow an organ to be installed as it might ‘compete’ with that in the Cathedral!

At the time it was stated: “In planning a theatre for the town of Salisbury’s particular amenities, the architect has fully realised that the building must not clash with the dignity of the near-by Cathedral, and at the same time he must provide the population with a cinema that processes the finer points of modern design.”

Inside, the theatre was decorated in tones of red and two great lighting troughs ran across the theatre.

The main ventilating grilles on either side were floodlit – the grilles giving a hint of Gothic heraldry as a reminder of the Cathedral city in which the cinema was built.

The Regal gave its last film performance on January 25 1969 when Steve McQueen in ‘Bullitt’ played to packed houses.

It reopened shortly afterwards as a Bingo hall and remained as such until recent times – it is now up for sale and its fate unknown (although an over 50s development has been rumoured….).

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