Lock and Key of the Kingdom

The Granada (ABC) Cinema

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Image:  The Granada Cinema, Castle Street, February 1956.
The Granada Cinema, Castle Street, February 1956.

Doverís first large modern cinema, the Granada, opened on 8 January 1930 in Castle Street. The publicity said that it could seat 2,000, although the true figure was around 1,700. The interiors were designed by the Russian born designer Theodore Komisarjevsky, who went on to design many other cinemas in the Granada chain. The foyer was in a French eighteenth century style with a marble staircase, chandelier, and Venetian mirrors, while the auditorium was had a Spanish-Moorish theme.

As well as films the programmes included variety acts and the stage was provided with curtains, footlights, dimmers and a modern stage lighting switchboard. The was also an organ on a lift placed in the centre of the orchestra pit.

The Granada was bought by the ABC cinema chain in 1935 and continued to flourish. In 1960 it was renamed the ABC but many old Dovorians always referred to it as the Granada. Also in 1960 the organ was removed and later sold to a cinema organ enthusiast.

Audiences began to decline steadily as more and more people stayed at home to watch television. In 1971, with the closure of the Odeon, it became Doverís last remaining cinema (the Gaumont and Essoldo both having closed in 1960). In spite of its now unique position, audiences continued to decline. In the early 1970s the circle was closed leaving just 610 seats in the stalls to cater for the remaining customers. The cinema eventually ceased to be economically viable and closed on 30 October 1982. The building was converted into a night club but this closed and now the building is derelict, a sad fate for this once splendid Picture Palace.


Three pictures of the interior of the new Granada, taken from the Official Dover Guide of 1930:

Image:  The foyer.
The foyer.

Image:  The stage from the circle.
The stage from the circle.

Image:  The stalls and circle.
The stalls and circle.




Image:  Shakespeare Cliff.transparent