The Rex cinema opened in 1939 with seating for 1,250 and was the last cinema to be built in Aberdare. The opening attraction was a double bill of “THREE LOVES HAS NANCY” and “THE GARDEN OF THE MOON”.

Although the Rex had a plain facade it appeared modernist with a central glazed area with a very high canopy, above which the name REX appeared in large bold lettering.

Internally the venue boasted an attractive art deco style foyer and auditorium. An impressive 56 foot wide proscenium framed a Compton manual theatrrone organ with an illuminated console on a lift rising from below the stage.

Unusually the Rex cinema was equipped with BTH integral projectors, the integral system was used throughout its life as a cinema.

Successful as a cinema for many decades the venue introduced bingo twice a week during the early 1970s, something that was common in many valleys cinemas. The venue ceased operating as a cinema and bingo hall on the 6th July 1983. The Compton organ was sold very shortly after the venue closed.

Following closure as a bingo hall in 1983 the former cinema remained unused for a number of years and quickly fell into disrepair, causing considerable damage to the suffering exterior. Internally there was damage due to a number of leaks in the roof, affecting parts of the auditorium, while the foyer was subjected to some minor vandalism and damage from rainwater.
Like much of South Wales, Aberdare thrived on the coaling opportunities it had, something which was popular with the British Navy as south Wales coal was found to be an ideal source for steam.

Alongside the coal industry the town also had its own iron ore plant and a number of local breweries. Between them, these three industries employed most of those residing in the area and attracted others to move into the Aberdare area.

The commercial centre of Aberdare boasted good shopping and leisure facilities with four cinemas offering a varied programme of big screen entertainment.
RETURN TO THE CINEMA WALES HOMEPAGE
DON'T FORGET... IF YOU HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF THE CINEMAS IN ABERDARE OR THROUGHOUT THE SOUTH WALES VALLEYS WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.
With thanks and gratutude to Editha Pearce (projectionist) for additional information and knowledge of the Aberdare Cinemas.

The Rex Cinema was one of the towns best cinemas with a modern facade and grand auditorium that was decorated to a high standard. While this palace of a picture house has been lost forever we would welcome any further images that viewers might have, in particular those images that capture the foyers and auditorium when the cinema was in use for the purpose it was designed for.
Following closure as a bingo hall in 1983 the former cinema remained unused for a number of years and quickly fell into disrepair, causing considerable damage to the suffering exterior. Internally there was damage due to a number of leaks in the roof, affecting parts of the auditorium, while the foyer was subjected to some minor vandalism and damage from rainwater.

In 1985 the Rex cinema was used in the Welsh language feature film “COMING UP ROSES”. The plot revolves around a group of locals who use the cinema as a mushroom farm. Parts of the cinema were redecorated by the production crew, leading to a local campaign to reopen the former cinema with plans to restore the mini modernist picture house to its former glory, for community use.

The campaign received considerable support from within the community together with wide coverage through the local press and media. Sadly the campaign was not a success, although many residents vocally campaigned and petitioned the local authority for funding no finance was made available for project.

The Rex was demolished in 1990, robbing the local community of one of Aberdare’s most remarkable buildings with its unique architecture. Housing now occupies the site of the former Rex cinema.

Nowadays there is nothing left to remind us of this once  attractive building that was allowed to crumble prior yo demolition, other than the memories of those who were entertained by the action, adventure, comedy and drama that the big screen once offered.
ABERDARE {ELECTRIC} CINEMA
Cardiff Street
OPENED: 1912 CLOSED: 1959  SEATING CAPACITY: 800 OPERATOR: V.W.ROWE/ABERDARE CINEMAS LTD.  PROSCENIUM 00FT  SCREEN{S} 1. DEMOLISHED.
One of the earliest cinemas in the town, the Aberdare Electric Cinema was a single screen purpose built venue with seating for 800 patrons on one level. The cinema opened in 1912 under the operation and management of Mr V.W. Rowe who also operated the towns Empire Pictorium.  The cinema underwent a slight name change just after 1918, the venue was now called, the Aberdare Cinema.  In 1924 ownership of the cinema switched to Aberdare Cinemas Limited. Screening silent films with musical accompaniment the cinema was a popular attraction in the town and continued to offer a variety of silent screen films until the cinema installed a Picturedrome projector with a British Thomas Howell sound system during the early thirties.

By the fifties the cinema had become less popular and unable to compete with a growing number of picture houses that had developed around the town. The cinema eventually closed, remaining empty and unused for a while and was subsequently demolished in 1959/1960.
Boasting an impressive long frontage that ran the length of Cardiff Street and decorated almost entirely with tiles, many locals thought it looked more like a public swimming baths more so than a cinema, a palace of film entertainment.

In common with many of the picture palaces throughout the Welsh valleys, the Electric would be decorated for special events, including particular films that would be screened with wide appeal to the local community alongside national Welsh and English celebrations, including Royal or state events. During the early days of cinema while there was no television screening broadcasts of important events, such ocassions were celebrated on the big screen, attracting patrons as much as the main film, a weekly newsreel would be a popular feature within the programme, later the newsreels would become a twice a week event.

With thanks to Editha Pearce for her knowledge on this cinema. And with gratitude to Colin Rees for additional information and images.

We would welcome Additional information on this lost venue , please contact us if you have any information that might be added or additional images.
KOSY CINEMA
Market Street
The pioneering film maker and cinema owner, William Haggar operated cinema shows in the towns market yard in 1910, the attraction was a great success and steered him into building a cinema in the town. Hagger engaged the architect Charles Kenshole to design the building of his new luxury picture palace. The Kosy Kinema opened on the 18th August 1915 with seating for 900 patrons. With a neo classical theatrical looking façade the new cinema was a commanding structure within what was becoming a popular and vibrant market town.

The cinema was often referred to as Hagger’s Kinema or picture house. It was common to call a cinema in the valleys by a slightly different name to how it was named, often it would just be called the pictures, no matter how many cinemas or picture houses there were in the same town.

At some time during 1933 the Kosy Kinema was acquired by Willis Cinemas, a small family business from the South Eastern Valleys who had by now started to expand its estate of cinemas in the valleys and had started to acquire two or three venues in the suburbs of Cardiff. The Willis circuit revamped the Kosy and reduced the seating considerably, from 900 to 670 seats. At the same time they made a slight change to the name of the venue, calling it the Cosy Kinema. The acquired cinemas continued to be a success under the ownership of Willis cinemas until 1946 when a serious fire ripped through the auditorium, effectively destroying the venue. The Willis family, for reasons unknown, decided not to rebuild the cinema, even though it was a robustly built venue leaving the structure remains unused for a number of years before it was demolished.
OPENED: 1915 CLOSED: 1946  SEATING CAPACITY: 900 OPERATOR: HAGGARS CINEMAS LTD/JACKSON WITHERS CIRCUIT.  PROSCENIUM 00FT  SCREEN{S} 1. DEMOLISHED.
TEMPERANCE HALL/HIPPODROME THEATRE/PALLADIUM CINEMA
Canon Street.
OPENED: 1858 CLOSED: 2010  SEATING CAPACITY: 1,200 OPERATOR: UNKNOWN/TOP TEN BINGO.  PROSCENIUM 00FT  SCREEN{S} 1. BINGO/UNKNOWN.
Originally the Temperance Hall, built in 1858, it was renamed the Hippodrome theatre and music hall in 1900 with seating for 1,500 patrons. As the Hippodrome the venue offered the occasional film show together with its main purpose as a live performance venue. For a good number of years the Hippodrome was a successful venue for live entertainment in the town.

In 1918 new owners acquired the Hippodrome. With cinema becoming a big attraction throughout Wales the new owners remodelled the venue, reducing auditorium seating from 1,500 to a comfortable 1,200. The façade was given a new look, removing the church type appearance and creating a more established public theatre or cinema look to it. By the late 1920s the Hippodrome was given a new name, now known as the Palladium.  With an impressive stage for live shows the venue continued to offer a mixture of live performances with screen entertainment. The stage was 25 foot deep with a 35 foot wide Proscenium.

The Palladium ceased screening films during the early 1970s when it was successfully remodelled for bingo, operated by an independent bingo hall chain for many years. The venue continued to offer bingo for many years and was still in use as a bingo hall belonging to the Top Ten Bingo group in 2009.

Top Ten Bingo ceased its operations at the former cinema/theatre in 2010 and the venue remains unused although repair work has been undertaken on the facade more recently. In contrast to the appearance the venue was given as the Palladium the façade now has a church like look to it again.

The local community would like to see the old cinema put back into use as a public community facility that offers live performances and film shows.  The building remains an important feature withing the busy town and might attract the attention of  a exhibitor who could fund such a project, at the moment it is unlikely that the local authority could do so, even though there is a  restoration project being considered for a number of the historical buildings of importance throughout the town.
REX CINEMA
Wind Street.
OPENED: 1839 CLOSED: 2010  SEATING CAPACITY: 1,250. OPERATOR: UNKNOWN/TOP TEN BINGO.  PROSCENIUM 00FT  SCREEN{S} 1. DEMOLISHED.
ABERDARE
Welcome to an affectionate appraisal and tribute to the cinemas that entertained us in the South Eastern industrial valleys of Wales.
UPDATED - 2013