• I remember going to the Regal cinema on a Saturday morning, when it was demolished we were told it would be rebuilt above some new shops. Instead the site was empty for a number of years, then the old peoples home was built “Homeregal”

  • Yes, I can remember seeing the Sound of Music in 1970 there.

    And yes, you are right – when the old cinema was knocked down the council gave permission for a new development incorporating a smaller cinema. But the planning permission was never implemented and we ended up with Homeregal House instead.

  • God, thats so sad.
    I remember going to the regal around 1969-71, we used to watch the film, then when it finished, we’d hide behind the heavy velvet curtains which I think were at the end of the corridor.
    When the next showing started, we’d go back in and watch it all over again.
    Loved saturday morning cinema.. great memories and so sad that its all gone.

  • I have very fond memories of the Regal Cinema. When I was 11, our family moved to Eastwood in January,1959. Sometime in ’60’61, when I was able to travel on my own, I started taking the bus to Rayleigh high street on Saturday mornings to the Regal cinema and recall being transfixed by the ‘Batman’ serial they showed at the time.
    On Sundays they used to show double bills of ‘X’ films of ’50’s horror and science fiction which I was eager to see but at the time there was a restriction to everyone under the age of 16 being admitted, whether or not you were with an adult.
    It seemed that it was a big challenge to kids like me, that were only 13/14 was to challenge the law to try to see an ‘X’ film under age.
    So, I sacrificed the ‘Saturday morning pictures’ and decided from now on I would be an adult! I approached the pay-desk, (my heart was beating twice as fast!) I recall very clearly the lady selling the tickets, she was either Scottish or an accent from further north. When I asked for a ticket, she would reply in very concerned voice “Are you sixteen?”. On saying yes, up popped the ticket of which I grabbed and quickly ventured into the darkness of the cinema before the manager saw me.
    I recall what the manager looked like. He was in his 50’s or 60’s with grey hair and mustache, always dressed in a suit and shirt and tie.
    I felt a little guilty about going in under age, but I will be forever grateful to the Regal for those special memories.
    I remember that the first ‘X’ films I saw, for those interested, were “Cage of Doom” (“Terror from the Year 5000”) “Demons of the Swamp” (“Attack of the Giant Leeches”) and “The Fantastic Disappearing Man” (“Return of Dracula”). I still have these movies in my collection and whenever I watch them I always fondly remember where I first saw them. Regal Cinema RIP.

    • That manager was Ron Stewart, and he’s still very much with us and living in Hastings; returning to Southend to visit old friends every so often. He’s in his mid 80’s now, so you’ve aged him somewhat! You’re the guy who went on to work at the Odeon in Southend, then Elstree aren’t you?

  • Memories.I remember seeing various films but particularily the “Man from Uncle” and then on the way home being napolean Solo and confronting and dispatching Thrush agents along the Hockley Road on the way home

    happy days

    never to be replaced, although we do holiday in Aldeburgh and the local cinema (and nearby leiston) are single screen single showing old style cinemas like the good old Regal

  • Yes, just going down memory lane and wondering what happened to the cinemas where I live now. This took me to wondering what happened to the Regal in Rayleigh where I lived for many years starting in 1958. Reading Stephen Pickards letter reminded me that I also use to go to the X rated films when I was 14, not too much of a problem for me as at that age I was quite well built and easily passed for 16. Seem to remember the Regal manager went on to the Palace theatre at Westcliff and the elderly ice cream lady lived in Queens Road where I bought my first property. Happy days in a bygone era!

    • Ron Stewart, the Regal’s longstanding manager, went on to the Classic Cinema in Westcliff-on-Sea after the Regal closed it’s doors in 1973, then he went on to a cinema in Hastings I believe in the mid-1980’s.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if our youngsters had the opportunities to discover a bit of independence like we were able to do? I went to a local swimming pool with friends from the age of eight. My local little group did ‘penny for the guy’ at the entrance to the cinema with no fear of danger. The Saturday morning pictures became a rite of passage for youngsters. Who remembers the songs we all sang along to (I seem to recall ‘We are the ovaltiny happy boys and girls’ or did I imagine that), the weekly features, the usherette serving the obligatory ice cream tub and of course the little devils who let their mates in for free, via the fire doors, when eyes weren’t watching? It wasn’t that long ago that all this was part of growing up instead of sitting in a bedroom alone in front of a ipad or smartphone screen.

  • Linda at 10, who do you think is responsible for this current state ? Who is it that allows kids to stay in their room alone instead of interacting with the family ?

  • Oz @ 10. Perhaps the changes in lifestyles that have created a society that requires virtually every parent to have to work in order to have a roof over their heads due to the cost of housing and living generally. Families haven’t gained, financial companies have. Many children hardly have a family life. I have written many times about this. When kids grow up with a lack of company sometimes a gang or an on-line contact is the only friend that is around. I can already hear the squeals that women deserve a choice and claims that child-minders are a good substitute but frankly I don’t think anything beats having a parent to turn to whenever you need them physically there, not on the end of a phone. Outdated view? Probably!

  • Linda @ 12 Could be people making a lifestyle choice by having kids when they clearly can’t afford them and then expect other taxpayers to subsidise them.

  • Oz. if every young couple on basic salaries(not high wage earners) stopped having children now the only people procreating would be the wealthy and benefit people. It was a lifestyle choice for a parent to be at home at one time but not if you want to start a family now. Tell me how any young couple could get a mortgage for any of the houses being built now with one basic salary? The whole circus requiring two wage earners in families in order to survive has been a gigantic scam on the working people of this nation that benefits only the institutions collecting the spoils of their labour. Who else has gained?

  • Linda @ 14, I like the way you have nicely sidestepped the question…actually just like a lot of people who post on this site. Is it right to have kids if you can’t afford them and if you go ahead is it right to expect other people to subsidise your lifestyle choice.

    And for the record I too have lost out, always done the right thing ( and paid a mortgage at 15% interest ) worked hard to build my career, never claimed a penny in benefits only to see the return on my hard earned savings reduced to nothing. So it looks like we are all losers….

  • Think it is a sliding scale Oz – my grandparents generation were probably the poorest but had maybe 6-10 siblings, my parents age group typically 3-4 siblings , my generation – I think it was 2.4 children per family.
    The average is probably less than that now ( due to economics ) except for immigrant birthrates who are actually now far outnumbering the indigenous birthrate.
    Economic migration I think THEY call it , I call it cheap labour for the “service industries” ( zero hour / minimum wage etc; ) having abandoned our manufacturing base during the Thatcher years – cemented by her biggest fan BLAIR &Co.