Kalee 11 for the Moderne

The Moderne Cinema in the Bournemouth suburb of Moordown was a true super cinema with seating for 1500 people in stalls and circle. It opened in 1935 and operated until 1963. The final presentation was the Peter Sellars film 'The Wrong Arm Of The Law'. Later that year Pat Phoenix, Coronation Street's Elsie Tanner, reopened the building as the Moderne Bingo Club. Not quite certain whether this new form of entertainment would endure the management kept the projection box intact until the early 1970's when the three Kalee 11's and all of the associated equipment were sold for a nominal sum, and stripped out. The projectors had been upgraded in the 1950's when the Moderne re equipped for Cinemascope. Westrex 2002A sound heads were fitted at that time as well as Westrex magnetic sound heads which were fitted to two of the machines.

Over the years the bingo operation continued, firstly under Moderne Enterprises then Granada and finally Gala who closed the club down in early 2008. Demolition and redevelopment seemed a certainty but quite unexpectedly the site was taken over by a local community church. Anxious to remind people of the buildings past there was considerable enthusiasm on their part to exhibit a 35mm projector which was a faithful copy of the three machines which had originally been in the projection box when the cinema closed in 1963. We had nearly everything required to do this due to the aborted project for the Regent Centre in Christchurch.

Time and effort on our part being conveniently brushed aside in a deluge of health and safety obstacles which made it impossible to display the projector anywhere in the building, apparently. Both the Regent and the Moderne were owned by Portsmouth Town Cinemas and both had near identical equipment. The one item that needed changing was the lamp house, the Moderne's machines were fitted with Peerless Magnarcs not Kalee Vulcans as at the Regent. That was not a problem as we already had a couple of Magnarcs albeit xenon conversions which had been sprayed silver when the conversion had been done. One had already been used on the universal base set up and the other would fit nicely into the Kalee 11 project. We don't have a Westrex magnetic head and we aren't sure how exactly it would be fixed to a Kalee 11, but that is a future project, hopefully.

In December 2012 we finally got the go ahead to install the Kalee in the foyer of the former Moderne cinema, now known as the Life House, a Christian church.

Firstly the reception desk had to be moved to make way for the projector and then a wooden base was found to locate the heavy cast iron stand. Once that was in place it was just a matter of building up the various constituent parts on it. First the sound head, with the picture head on top of it. Top spool box on top of that. The motor drive lies underneath the sound head on the 2002A and drives the sound head through a flexible drive. The sound head then drives the bottom spool box via a neoprene belt. The picture head is driven via gears and a chain. The fact that the motor is incorporated in the sound head, means that the L shaped shelf on the back of the Kalee stand is rendered obsolete.

The lamp house rests on iron bars bolted to the stand but it then has to be raised higher with suitable metal work until it lines up with the projector.

In our case we used heavy angle iron cut to length and held in place with 'J' bolts. The lamp house was clamped to these irons with 5/16th Whitworth studding which screws straight into the base of the lamp house via pre drilled threaded holes. The studding is then clamped to the base with metal plates.

Restoration History


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