The History of the Ringwood Regal

Located in Ringwood, north of Bournemouth, the Regal Cinema in Ringwood’s Market Place occupied the former Corn Exchange building, which dates back to 1868.

1867 – The Old Market House was demolished and re-erected on the corner of Lynes Lane and became known as “Town House”.

1868 – The “New Town Hall” was opened. It was built by Mr John Morant to replace the Market House and incorporated a corn exchange and a court room. The building was designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt and built by Messrs Bull & Son of Southampton in a French Classical style. The building was made of red brick with Bath stone dressings and featured a balcony and the Morant coat of arms was over the entrance.

1914 – The building was converted for use as a cinema called the “Picture House” and eventually became the “Victoria” cinema.

1934 – The RMDS were using the building at this time.


1937 – The building was drastically modernised by architect Ernest S. Roberts, the owners were A. Austin of Pilkington’s Theatres with Barrington Lynham retained as manager. The mansard roof, the balcony and the original entrance were all done away with. The circle seating was added and the name changed to the Regal. The stage was 20ft deep and local people recall that there was a theatre organ.

1959 – Ceased to be full time cinema when live shows were introduced, together with film performances.

1964 – Only operating one night a week as a cinema.

1967 – New owners were brothers Gordon and Anthony Sheath, they planned to take out 100 cinema seats to make room for a dance floor and run two dances a week with bingo on one or two nights and cinema shows twice weekly. Wrestling was also planned.

1969 – Status Quo, Dave Dee Beaky Mick and Tich, The Troggs, Edison Lighthouse, Unit 4 + 2, Amen Corner all played at the Regal during this period.

1972 – The cinema closed. Architects and structural engineer Mr R A Upstone carried out a survey of the building and declared it safe, for the Rural Council who considered purchasing the building.


1977 – Building was used for an arcade of small shops with a squash club above and an Italian restaurant in the semi-basement below. The shopping Centre was designed by local architect Mr Alun Brown of Plan & Site Services in Southampton Road, Ringwood and the work carried out by Jim Ellis of Baker Fleet Properties.

1990 – The building was turned into a night club known as Route 42

1999 – Route 42 night club closed and subsequently reopened as the Red Rooms and then became the Vision for two years, then it was renamed as the Saffire club.

2002 – The Saffire club closed and venue was finally known as the Roadhouse, before closing completely.

2005 – We understand the premises were acquired by Development Securities (Furlong Centre) Ltd. Since when the building has remained empty and any plans for development have not come to fruition.

2015 – The owners via a management company, understood to be Chelstone Management (Ringwood) Ltd, launched new plans to develop the site, which includes complete or near complete demolition of the building.

Creatif-Perfection,   23A The Market Place, Ringwood, BH24 1AN,

Tel:   01425 483428

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