Regent Centre Museum

21 APRIL 2017

When the Regent cinema closed in 1973, the projection box still retained two projectors which dated from the 1930's. Although there had been refurbishments of the auditorium over the years, very little had been spent on projection equipment except that in the early 1950's, Western Electric sound heads had been installed. This was at the same time as the Moderne in Moordown, also a Portsmouth Town Cinemas hall, had similar sound heads fitted to their Kalee 11's while converting to CinemaScope and four track magnetic sound. The Regent, however, retained mono sound throughout its time as a cinema. The Kalee 12 that we now have on display is typical of a pre War installation and not dissimilar from the Kalee 11 described above. The sound head is a Westrex 2B which we think was probably the sound system installed at the Regent before the 1950's update to the model 2003. We decided to use the model 12 picture head because we had the appropriate base plates and gearing to make the machine a working exhibit. In all other respects the outfit is not unlike the projectors that graced the Regent's projection box for all of its life as a cinema. all in all a very satisfying addition to the museum collection. For information the picture head is works number 16543.

We also have other examples of Kalee projector heads including the model 8 introduced circa 1928 and its replacement the Model 11 of 1933. The model 8 came from the now demolished Royalty cinema in Dartmouth, Devon.

Perhaps the most important item in the museum is the fully operational Simplex E7 which resides next to the Regent's digital projector and is fully capable of showing 35mm film on the big screen. The projector dates from 1941 and has an RCA 1041 sound head and an AEI xenon lamp house. It is fully linked up to a sound rack containing the required power amp and processor which in turn can be linked up to the cinema's sound system. This means that the Regent Centre is now the only venue in Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch with a fixed installation for showing 35mm film.