ABC Ritz Cinema
Station Road, Wigan
Part of Group:
At Risk: No
The Ritz as it was then known opened in 1938 as a 2500 seater luxury cinema and for 60 years it was the place to visit in Wigan for a night out. As well as a cinema many top stars appeared on its stage including Buddy Holly, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The ABC Minors also gave the children of Wigan their first experiences of the Silver Sceen. In the sixties it was renamed the ABC and the restaurant was converted into the Court School of Dancing. The advent of television in most homes was the death knell of the cinema and in the 1970s the building was converted into a Triplex Cinema and Bingo Hall. Most of the other cinemas in Wigan closed in the late 50s and 60s and the final straw for the ABC was the opening of the Virgin Multiplex on Robin Park in 1996 and despite several attempts to revive its fortunes the ABC finally closed in 1998.
The Building was demolished to make way for the so called Grand Arcade and in my view the Coucil lost a golden opportunity to create a cultural quarter on Station Road centred on this wonderful cinema..