The Regal Cinema in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, has undergone major refurbishment to restore it to its former glory.
The cinema was originally opened in 1937 and became a much-loved part of the town, operating as a commercial cinema until 1966. Faced with demolition in the late 1960’s, the Regal was bought by Tenbury Town Council in 1970.
Under the ownership of the Town Council, the building had an extended stage fitted to provide a location for live entertainment and also a community centre built at the back.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided a grant of over £680,000 towards the renovation works which have restored and repaired many of the traditional features within the cinema.
The work began in October 2011 and was completed in the summer of 2012. As well as re-instating many of the historic features within the Regal, the work aimed to improve access to the building.
The main contractor on the project was J Harper and Sons (Leominster) Ltd and the architect was Glazzards of Worcester.
One of the main features to be restored within the building were the 1930’s murals by George Legge which decorate the auditorium walls. These have been renovated and repaired by mural artist Richard Gill who cleaned and repainted sections lost over the years to damage and over-painting.
Decorative plasterwork columns and window lintel decorations, lost from the facade in the late 1960’s, have also been reinstated.
The main entrance doors to the Regal have been moved, creating a larger foyer space and allowing for a disabled access lift to be fitted. This allows people who have difficulty with stairs access to the foyer and rear of the auditorium for the first time.
The art-deco style of the foyer has been enhanced, preserving original features such as the pay box.
The proscenium arch that surrounded the original cinema screen has been repainted into its original gold, allowing it to be seen as it would have been in 1937 when the cinema first opened.
Also in the auditorium, the original lighting scheme has been restored and the decorative arched “window” openings on the side walls have been repainted to their original colours and relit.
The original parquet floor in the projection room and much of the upstairs has been repaired and re-laid where it has been damaged. In addition, the technical rooms, including the projection room, have been fully renovated.
On the roof, improved guttering aids drainage and prevents future roof and building damage from leaks. The auditorium roof has been completely replaced and new, safer roof space access created.
As a finishing touch to the work, the original neon lighting scheme has been restored at the front of the building, including long red and green tube lights and the name ‘Regal’ in neon white.