Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 14, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 14, 2016

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In November 1937 the premises of Messrs Swiss & Company in Fore Street were purchased as the site for a new cinema.  The owners were Messrs Devonport Kinemas Ltd of 10 Windsor Place, Cardiff, South Wales, and the building was designed by Messrs E C Morgan Willmott & Partners Ltd, also of Cardiff.

On Saturday August 5th 1939, the new 1,800 seat Forum Cinema opened.  Built by Mr Charles Tyler, of Swansea, Glamorgan, South Wales, it had a frontage of 75 feet and was 130 feet in length.  The cinema was run jointly with the Hippodrome a short distance away, sharing both its licensee, Mr A E Taylor, and its manager, Mr W G Thomas.

The Forum opened at 5pm with the film "Honolulu" starring Eleanor Powell and Robert Young.   Seats cost 6d, 9d or 1 shilling on the ground floor, 1/6d or 1/3d in the balcony.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Devonport suffered greatly.  It was never rebuilt to its former glory.  This was largely because of the requirements of the Admiralty and the Royal Navy, who decided to expand the Royal Dockyard by taking in several large chunks of the old town.  By the time this had been completed in the mid-1950s there was a large workforce in the area but very few residents: the workers in some cases had been re-housed as far away as Southway and Ernesettle so they just wanted to get home of an evening.   Once home, television kept them there.

This situation resulted in the closure of Devonport's newest cinema, the Forum, on Saturday May 14th 1960.  It reopened in December 1960 as a bingo hall.