Cinema in Harborough – The ABC Ritz
Cinema came to Market Harborough in the early 20th century but it wasn’t until May 1939 that the Ritz, Northampton Road, opened its doors. The first film to show at this Art Deco, 1930s gem was ‘The Drum’ featuring Sabu. This souvenir brochure, in Harborough Museum’s ‘Places to go, people to see’ case, is from that very night.
The Ritz played a good mix of films, as well as propaganda, during the war period and continued to be popular into the 50’s, despite the occasional flood! A new screen with cinemascope opened in 1955 and by 1959 the Ritz was the only cinema in town. However, with the rise of the television, cinema-going decreased and the Ritz closed in April 1978 with some Bruce Lee action in ‘Fist of Fury’.
After a period as a bingo hall, the Ritz was converted into a supermarket, but has since been demolished and replaced with retirement flats.
The Millennium Mile – A Pleasant Stroll through Harborough
The old Ritz site sits halfway along the Millennium Mile, a cycle and footway following the river through Harborough. It links the railway station with Welland Park and is a pleasant way to get into town. You may even spot the Harborough otters!
A short detour will bring you to The Symington Building where the U3A Millennium Tapestry is housed. Can you find Welland Park on it?
On Sun 10th September Arts Fresco comes to town, so why not visit then? Enjoy some of Harborough’s heritage at the same time as the best street theatre festival in the Midlands!
Our thanks to our volunteer, Susan Hammond, for writing this month’s entry.