The Abbey Cinema

One provision of the Enclosure Act was a ban on the erection of buildings - or indeed walls over 4ft 6ins in height - on Wavertree Green. This was to leave the sails of Wavertree Mill exposed to the wind, and so to protect the interests of Bamber Gascoyne as the mill's owner. As recently as the 1930s - when plans were drawn up for what became the Abbey Cinema (now the Gala bingo club and Somerfield supermarket) - attempts were made by local residents to have this clause enforced, but their pleas were rejected by the courts on the grounds that the mill no longer existed!

Now walk away from the Lock-up, in the direction of the Picton Clock. Cross the road by means of the zebra crossing, towards the former cinema building. The 'Abbey' first opened its doors in March 1939 with 'Joy of Living', and closed down in August 1979 with 'The Towering Inferno'. It was the only cinema of that name in the Liverpool area, and gave further credence to the stories about the Monks Well. However, the reason for the name was quite simple: it was to secure the new cinema a place at the head of the alphabetical list of Merseyside cinemas, in front of the Aintree Palace, the Astoria and the Atlas!

Walk to the right, alongside the perimeter wall. The cinema's architect was A. Ernest Shennan - an Alderman on the City Council - and it was a typical example of contemporary design. Although the original windows and doors have all been replaced, it is still recognisably a thirties-style cinema building.

The above is an extract from 'DISCOVERING HISTORIC WAVERTREE',
. © Mike Chitty 1999.
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Page created by MRC 26 February 2000.