The Roxy, Holdenhurst Road, Springbourne

The Roxy opened on the 27th June 1911 as The Coronation Picture Palace. The name was probably chosen because the Coronation of George V took place on 22nd June in the same year. The grand opening included 'the Coronation Procession and other star attractions'.

It actually had quite a big catchment area including the adjacent and affluent King's Park and Queen's Park areas of Bournemouth and as the adverts said 'Ashley Road trams stop at the door'.

Opening in 1911 makes the Roxy the oldest surviving purpose built cinema in the town. There seems to have been some changes to the fabric of the building around 1926. The plans drawn up at that time, and shown below, were approved by the Council. The façade was to have a facelift and interestingly the plans show the front of the building as originally built. Certainly the Roxy as we know it in more recent times had a façade quite like but not identical to the plans.

The plans were commissioned by T Clafton Esq.

The operator of the Coronation at that time. The name of the cinema was changed to Roxy in 1936 and Harry Mears took it over in 1940. In 1944 it was being operated by West's Pictures whose town centre cinema in Old Christchurch Road had been destroyed in an earlier air raid. The Roxy had closed after the 9th January of that year for what could only have been a very minor refurbishment, reopening on the 20th January as West's. Unfortunately the Roxy took a direct hit very soon afterwards on April 24th. The presentation at the time consisted of Olsen and Johnson in 'Helza Poppin' plus Wayne Morris in 'Double Alibi'. Adverts continued in the Echo for a while afterwards glumly stating:

Roxy Cinema, Holdenhurst Road
Closed due to unforeseen circumstances

It remained derelict until 1950. At that time special dispensation was given to allow the repairs to be carried out. Westar projectors were installed at this time. Many years later after its ceased showing films these machines were installed in the Continental cinema in Winton where they remained in operation until that venue's closure in 1989.

The first show on reopening on March 8th 1950 consisted of 'Blue Skys' starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby plus Charlie Ruggles in 'Night Work'. At this time it reverted to being The Roxy so it can be surmised that Harry Mears had taken the property back by then.

It closed as a cinema on the 25th August 1963. The final feature was 'Blind Date' starring Stanley Baker and Hardy Kruger, a film that had its first release in 1959! Just like the Classic at Fisherman's Walk and the Ritz in Moordown, a relatively old film was booked to see the venue close.

After closure it was transformed into an independently run bingo and social club and ran successfully until 1994. During that period surprisingly little alterations were carried out and the interior was still very much like a cinema. The circle in particular was unchanged, retaining its seats and projection ports as the picture below illustrates. All conversions for bingo, however, have to include the installation of garish strip lighting so that the punters can study their bingo cards with ease.

The auditorium was wide with a relatively short throw from the projection box to the screen.

When bingo finished in 1994 the building was converted for use as a photographic lab some rather unfortunate alterations were made to the fabric of the building. The most obvious being the rendering and cutting down of the façade.

When you arbitrarily take down ornamental stone work from the top of the façade it becomes apparent why the architect and builders bothered to put it there in the first place. IT HIDES THE UGLY BRICKWORK BEHIND.

At the rear of the building an access door was constructed to allow vans to enter the premises for loading and unloading this construction must have destroyed much of the proscenium arch. I suppose all you can say about the old Roxy is that it is still standing.

All text and pictures in this article copyright John Thornley, Bob Dobson and others where credited.

Bournemouth Cinemas

The Continental Cinema, Winton

The Picture House/Savoy, Boscombe

The Ritz Cinema, Winton

The Astoria, Pokesdown

The Embassy/Palladium/ Classic, Fisherman's Walk, Southbourne

THE Roxy, Holdenhurst Road, Springbourne

The Regal, Parkstone