Take A Seat
There are people in this World who still dig for gold and there are people who buy lotto tickets every week in an attempt to make their dreams come true. Ormskirk Bygone Times’ heritage hunters just strive to seek out, rescue and repatriate lost artefacts from the town.
This week the hunt was on for something seemingly lost from the town forever but with some spot on research and some cunning detective work worthy of Columbo himself, something beautiful, rare and dripping with nostalgia was brought back to the town.
A row of five original art deco seats from the Regal Cinema, Church Street, has been bought and returned to Ormskirk by the team.
With peacock blue crushed velvet, silver trimmed covers, deep sprung seats and distinctive silver panels at the end of each row, the 800 seat lower stalls and 300 seat balcony must have seemed like a palace to cinema goers in the town.
The cinema, with its ruched metallic curtain across a wide panoramic screen, officially opened February 10th 1936, although the Ormskirk Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society had used the venue for a performance of the Yeoman of the Guard in January .
The Cinema was designed in the art deco style with elaborate features and rich colours that mimicked the glamour of Hollywood Hills. The foyer was decorated with blue woodwork and doors with silver metalwork which must have looked very glamorous. A concierge was employed at the entrance complete with cap and uniform, quite probably in livery matching the blue and silver colour scheme. The Regal closed on November 23rd 1963 (the Day after JFK was assassinated) and for a short time it was used as a bingo hall and the seats were still in place.
We have a photo of the remodelling of the frontage from 1963/64 when it became a supermarket, prior to Tesco taking over. In around 1965, the 1100 seats were removed and presumably split into lots for sale. OBT was able to track down one lot of around 100 seats which had been bought by a Liverpool Church and have been in use in the Church ever since. The seats recently once again came up for sale and OBT have purchased the row of five, and will hopefully acquire a further set of 5, to make a full row of 10, over the next few months.
It is anticipated that this will be a great feature for our mobile displays in the future and people will be able to have their photos taken sitting in the seats that they fondly remember from their youth!
If you have your own memories of the Regal why not get in touch and share them with us!