This building was not built with the rest of the street, for a long time the area remained open. All we do know is that the premises were constructed before the 1920's.
Plans were submitted for proposed alterations to the Empire Cinema for the Regal Cinemas (Blackburn) Limited. The plans were referred to the Lancashire County Council for their recommendations.
The Council Surveyor was instructed to communicate with the owners regarding the unsatisfactory state both as regards condition and appearance of the blast wall in front of the Regal Cinema, on the 5th May 1942. By the 12th August 1943, the Council had resolved that no contribution was to be made towards the cost to be borne by Mr. J. Walsh in the removal of the blast walls at the Regal Cinema.
On the 10th December 1942, The Council Clerk reported on correspondence concerning Cinema Assessments and the suggestion by the Valuer to the Rating Authority that the Rateable Value of the Regal Cinema should be amended to £213. The Council resolved that a proposal be made to this effect. On the 21st January 1943, the Council confirmed the value for the rates, from Gross £200, Rateable £163, to Gross £260, Rateable £213.
In 1959 a public vote was taken as to the opening of the cinema on Sundays after a public meeting had been held. The ballot produced just 459 votes with 47? voting against the scheme. Because of this permission was turned down for Sunday opening, unless the owner was prepared to appeal. Voting took at 4 voting stations usually reserved for council voting. It is though that this would be the end of the scheme for Sunday openings.1
In later years the cinema hall was turned into a bingo hall, I myself have fond memories of attending there with my Grandma, Eva Belch, with all her lucky charms (me included!)
The building was left to rot for many years after this, remaining empty and unused, until Whitehead's Supermarkets bought the building for use as a food outlet.
The building is now a supermarket, run by Whitehead's. The supermarket was opened during the 1990's.
An email received from Bernard Lord on the 25th May 2009 tells us how he (Mis)spent his youth..........
My mother used to own the hairdressers just down from the cinema, "Gladys Lord. Hairdresser." at 41 High Street.
The projectionist's door was usually always open at the back, presumably because it got so hot in his room and this was the only means of ventilation.
I remember as a kid (I think I was at primary- St. Charles) I used to go to bed early on Saturday nights - my bedroom was upstairs at the back of the house, looking onto the back alley. The reason I did was so I could listen to all the action-dialogue, horses, gunshots of the Westerns they showed. John Wayne was popular! I could imagine the films and it was free!!!!
I also remember when The film Rock Around The Clock ( Bill Haley and the Comets) came to the Regal. They had to draught in ONE extra policeman from Blackburn ( so making it two bobbies to be around) just in case there was any trouble!
Doubtless to say there was none. Perhaps it was a bit rowdy!
Also the Cliffhangers- to make you come back next week to see what really happened. Flash Gordon and the Mekon. What an era.2
Many thanks to Bernard for this.
1Accrington Observer, 30th January 2009, Page 33, Column 3, "All our yesteryears"
2Bernard Lord (via email 25th May 2009)