History & Museum
Regent Cinema Museum
The museum, which opened in 2017, is in the projection room and despite the limited space, has a comprehensive collection of vintage cinema artefacts, amongst which are two fully working 35 mm projectors, one an exhibit, the other in use alongside the Barco digital projector, a side lantern, an automaticket machine, rewinders, seats, speakers, a cabinet containing a wide range of smaller exhibits and a selection of posters and photographs of local cinemas that have long since succumbed to the wrecker's ball. As of the Regent’s AGM in 2022 the museum has made a part of the Regent mission statement and maintaining it one of its charitable objectives.
Tours of The Regent
The only way for the public to visit the museum is on our building tours. This is due the inaccessibility and location of the museum up the projection box stairs.
History of the Regent
The Regent seated around 700 patrons in circle and stalls and competed directly with the incumbent Pavilion cinema in Bargates which had belated plans to take over the Regent instead. The Pavilion is another survivor formally known as The British Legion Club.
By the mid 1930's Portsmouth Town Cinemas were the operators. That company also ran the Ritz and the Moderne in Winton. It was operated by Shipman and King cinemas for a very short time in the late 1960's and they did carry out some much needed refurbishment before they were taken over by the Grade organisation and ultimately subsumed into EMI, the music and entertainment conglomerate.
At this stage in the life of a cinema it would have been demolished, but once again the insatiable demand for bingo saved the day and the Regent became a Mecca Bingo and Social Club for a further nine years until 1982.
Mecca had a reputation for looking after their buildings but had a policy of painting the interiors in a combination of mauve, pink and dark green! Which was the colour scheme inherited by Christchurch Borough Council when they took over the building soon after Mecca vacated the premises.