The Forum Cinema was opened in June 1935 on the west side of Above Bar Street, just north of Civic centre Road on a site that had previously been occupied by Thorner's Charity Homes. The architect, William R Glen, designed a complex of cinema, shops and post office, built in Portland stone to compliment the Civic Centre which was then being constructed nearby. The building contractors were local specialist cinema-building firm Brazier and Sons. It was a large establishment with seating for over 1900 patrons and a restaurant offering afternoon teas and snacks. It was damaged in the Blitz of 1940 when a bomb crashed through the ceiling, but fortunately it did not explode and the cinema was able to reopen in 1941. The cinema, which was renamed the ABC in 1959, was converted into a double-screen venue in 1971, with Braziers once again undertaking the building work. Another name change, to the Cannon, occurred in 1986. It closed in 1991 and was converted into a pub / nightclub.

The Forum's organist, Reginald Porter-Brown (lived in Westwood Avenue, died in 1982 aged 72), was well-known nationally as he made many BBC broadcasts, including 300 or more from the Forum and from Southampton Guildhall. He was originally from Yorkshire and worked in Manchester and in Torquay before moving to Southampton in 1935. His signature tune when broadcasting was "Oh, Mr Porter!".

1. ABC Cinema, Above Bar Street

Image Unavailable

Photographed in the 1970s

2. The Former Forum Cinema

Image Unavailable

A modern view (2015) of the cinema

3. The former Forum Cinema Complex

Image Unavailable

A modern view (2015) of the complex.

Further reading:

Dream Palaces, by Bill White. (HS/r)
Southampton Cinemas, by John C. Shephard. (HS/r)


Browse A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y-Z

Search is temporarily unavailable, we are working to bring it online!

Get Involved

If you wish to

  • suggest additional information for this entry
  • suggest amendments to this entry
  • offer your own research
  • make a comment

then fill in the form on the Contact page.