Dursley Cinemas

In its time, Dursley has been home to two cinemas, The Victoria in Silver Street and The Regal in Kingshill Road.

The oldest cinema, The Victoria, was originally opened as the "Victoria Coffee Tavern" and Temperance Hotel on July 8th 1879. A price list for the period shows that coffee and tea was available at 1d for a large cup and a halfpenny for a small cup. A drink could be accompanied by rolls, bread, cheese and current buns at 1d per item. Customers were also able to bring their own food to eat on the premises and even their own jugs which could be filled with tea, cocoa or coffee. The building was converted for use as a cinema in the early years of the 20th Century and showed silent films until the appearance of the first "Talkie" in 1932. The exact date that it stopped showing films is uncertain but by 1959 the building was up for sale.

The town's other cinema, the Regal, was built in 1936 at the same time as the Kingshill Inn and the shops on Kingshill Road. It was a utilitarian building, typical of 1930's construction. Although very popular, this cinema suffered like many others in the 1950's and 1960's although the building itself survived into the 1990s after being converted into a Kwik-Save supermarket before being subsequently demolished and replaced by the present shop.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)
    The Victoria Coffee Tavern, Silver Street
The sign of The Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern building can be seen on the right of this picture prior to it being converted for use as a cinema.
(c1905 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    Inside the Victoria Cinema
As can be seen from the advertisement in this shot, "animated pictures" were shown every evening with two showings on Saturday evening and another in the afternoon.
(c1917 - courtesy Colin Timbrell)
    The Victoria Cinema in Silver Street
In this view the Coffee Tavern has been converted for use as a theatre and cinema although it still shows a sign for the "Victoria Hall Temperance Hotel".
(c1917 - courtesy Colin Timbrell)
    The Victoria Cinema building in Silver Street
The old Victoria cinema on the left of this picture was wanted as the new Town Hall by the Parish Council but it was vetoed by a packed parish meeting held in the Town Hall. More latterly, in the 1990's, it was used as a shopping precinct.
(1959 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    The Regal Cinema, Kingshill Road
Shortly after opening, the cinema is advertising the merits of George Formby in "Off the Dole", Margot Grahame in "Night Waitress" and Robert Taylor in "Broadway Melody of 1936".
(c1936 - courtesy Colin Timbrell)
    The Regal Cinema, Kingshill Road
This cinema was built in 1936 by L.J. Watts along with the shops and pub on Kingshill Parade and the residential areas of Kings Drive, Jubilee Road, Olive Grove, Lawrence Grove and St. David's Crescent. Showing on this occasion was the film "Mr. Moto's Last Warning" starring Peter Lorre.
(c1939 - courtesy Colin Timbrell)
    The end of the Regal Cinema, Kingshill Road
For a while the old converted cinema building and the new supermarket existed alongside each other but demolition of the cinema made way for a larger car park.
(September 1993 - copyright David Evans)
    Final curtain call at the Regal, Kngshill Road
Probably not missed for its architectural merit the old cinema did give rise to some good memories - three rows of seats, the upper circle, plush red wallpaper and saturday morning cartoon shows amongst them.
(September 1993 - copyright David Evans)