PICTRE HOUSES OF THE PAST
There is something sad about the closure of a cinema, and South-West Wales has had its share of them down the years.
The Carlton (pictured) in Oxford Street was the first purpose-built cinema in Wales when it opened in 1914. It was regarded with great affection by film buffs until it closed in 1977, later re-opening after a big makeover as a branch of the Waterstones bookshop chain.
Then there was the Castle — now Laserzone — the Albert Hall, the Elysium and the Plaza, later demolished to make way for the original Odeon building in the Kingsway.
St Paul's Church on St Helen's Road closed its doors for religious worship in 1973 and re-opened later that decade as the Studio Cinema, showing adult films. That all finished in 1989.
In distant days, districts like Landore, Uplands, Manselton, Sketty, Townhill and St Thomas all had their own cinema.
The Hippodrome (below) in Market Street was demolished in 1977 to make way for a new Tesco store and formerly the Royalty Theatre. A blue plaque, put up by Llanelli Community Heritage, recalls it.
The Windsor Cinema (below0 opened in 1936 with Dick Powell in Thanks a Million, and was well known for its restaurant with roof garden and stained glass windows which were lit from within. It closed in 1977 with Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
Two years later it was back as the Talk of the Abbey nightclub, with a 470-seat cinema operating in the former balcony. The cinema closed in 1985, re-opened again in 1991 with Kindergarten Cop, but closed for good the following year and is now housing.
The Empire Cinema in Neath ended up being used for bingo until 2010 and was demolished last year to make way for flats. Just out of town, Briton Ferry could once boast of the Palace, now housing, and the Lodge Cinema, now flats.
The art deco Plaza closed in 1999 and but a feasibility study and business plan for its restoration has recently been agreed by Neath Port Talbot Council.