The Granada Cinema

On Boxing Day, 26th of December 1930 the 7th Earl Spencer, Lady Diana’s grandfather, officially opened the new Regal Cinema on the site of the former Goosey & Sons drapery store in Kettering High Street.

It was a larger cinema for the time costing £70,000 and designed by George Coles who was a renowned architect of art deco cinemas in the 1920s and 30s, for the independent Regal (Kettering) Ltd.

He deliberately created a unique frontage which was dominated by a large tower lit with a huge saucer shaped neon halo visible for miles around with several pairs of entrance doors leading into a large foyer with a pay desk on either side, the cinema also housed a café.

The cinema had a total of 1748 seats split into 1164 grey luxury seats in the stalls and 578 blue seats in the circle and was fully air conditioned.

The cinema housed a 50 foot stage with an orchestra pit and there were four dressing rooms, all of which lent itself to live performances.

The cinema was a tremendous hit having been anticipated for some time, with the stage being used for live performances and Sunday night shows.

Famous musicians such as Henry Hall, Anne Ziegler, Joe Loss, Flanagan and Allan, pianists Rawicz and Landau, The Crazy Gang and many more celebrities came to entertain the locals at the Regal Cinema.

Back in the 40s, and 50s, it was common practice for investors and companies to take companies over and the Regal, being popular and profitable, became one such company and in 1948 the Granada Theatres chain acquired the rights to the Regal and re-named it the Granada Theatre.

During the 60s and 70s the cinema continued to host live groups with famous names like Rolling Stones, Tommy Steele, The Tremeloes, Marmalade, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, The Who, The Bay City Rollers making appearances on the large stage.

The Granada was closed as a cinema in June 1974.

In February 1975 it became a Granada Bingo Club and later In May 1991 it became a Gala Bingo Club with around 6000 players a week vying for full houses and winning lines, and a top prize of £1000.

The building was eventually closed for the last time in June 2018.

Researched by Martin Rose

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