PICTURE GALLERY: Doncaster's lost cinemas

The Don Cinema at the end of North Bridge.Photo: Geoff Warnes.

The Don Cinema at the end of North Bridge.Photo: Geoff Warnes.

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They brought joy to thousands of Doncaster people for years - so we're taking a look back at some of the town's lost cinemas.

There were plenty of picture houses across the town in the golden age of cinema, from Balby to Woodlands and beyond but the best known pair - the Gaumont (later Odeon) on Hall Gate and the ABC (later the Cannon) on Cleveland Street are some of the town's most fondly remembered.

The foyer of the ABC Cinema in Cleveland Street in the 1970s,

The foyer of the ABC Cinema in Cleveland Street in the 1970s,

The Gaumont, which played host to the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Buddy Holly, was flattened in its later guise and the site is now occupied by a car park.

Doncaster’s new £250,000 ABC cinema – part of the Golden Acres development near the town centre – was opened on May 18, 1967, by the Mayor of Doncaster Coun. G.F. Hardy.

The cinema was packed on the first night for the inaugural screening of Carlo Ponti’s production of Dr Zhivago, starring Omar Sharif, Geraldine Chaplin and Julie Christie.

Seating 1,277, the ABC was an outstanding example of the company’s confidence in the future of the cinema industry.

The much-loved Balby Cinema.

The much-loved Balby Cinema.

The Doncaster ABC was the last in a succession of cinemas opened by the circuit, which included Sheffield, Preston, Blackpool, Bristol and Grimsby.

In the mid-1980’s the ABC was absorbed by the Cannon Group and was renamed Cannon and closed on 18 June 1992. Since then, the premises have remained empty.

Balby Cinema opened on September 5, 1921. Inside, a large airy hall, 99ft by 39ft, was tastefully decorated in plaster and carpeted throughout. Seating accommodation for 720 persons was provided.

A name that became synonymous with the Balby Cinema was that of manager Albert Dobney. For 36 years he lived in Balby, next door to the cinema!

The Odeon before its demolition.

The Odeon before its demolition.

He ran children’s Saturday matinees for 34 years. At one time, 400 attended in the morning and 600 in the afternoon.

After the matinees, Albert Dobney was a familiar figure with his red flag as he saw the children across the road. “I always like to see them safe,” he once said. Balby Cinema closed on 11 June 1960.

The Windsor Cinema at the Oswin Avenue/Balby Road junction was opened by Suburban Cinemas (North Midlands) Ltd of Worksop on Monday, 1 August, 1938. The opening films were, from Monday-Wednesday Second Best Bed while on Thursday to Saturday the option was The Prisoner Of Zenda.

Seating was provided for approximately 900 in the auditorium and 300 in the circle.

The Windsor Cinema at Balby. Photo: Geoff Warnes.

The Windsor Cinema at Balby. Photo: Geoff Warnes.

The cinema was taken over by the Star Cinema Group on 1 March 1954 and improvements were carried out including the installation of Cinemascope.

Roulette and bingo were to replace films and the cinema was to be renamed the Windsor Casino, it was revealed at the beginning of November 1962.

The cinema finally closed on June 27, 1964 and was demolished shortly afterwards.

The Don Cinema, near the North Bridge, Doncaster, opened on August 17, 1939 with The Citadel.

The enterprise was the scheme of J.R. Hebditch and the seats provided for about 1,000 patrons.

The cinema was designed by J. Blythe Richardson. The last film to be shown at the Don was the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night on January 30, 1965.

The Gaumont in the 1960s.

The Gaumont in the 1960s.

The building was subsequently occupied by the Don Bingo and Social Club and was demolished around 1992 for road improvements.

The interior of the ABC Cinema.

The interior of the ABC Cinema.

The Windsor Cinema in Balby is demolished. Photo: Geoff Warnes.

The Windsor Cinema in Balby is demolished. Photo: Geoff Warnes.