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Photos inside much-loved Lime Street ABC cinema show its sad decline

1 year ago

Photos inside much-loved Lime Street ABC cinema show its sad decline

Photos inside the old ABC cinema on Lime Street reveal its sad decline, with old seats soaking and mouldy, and once-ornate interiors damaged or destroyed by fire.

The cinema, which was loved by generations of film lovers, closed back in 1998 and despite redevelopment plans it’s remained empty and unloved.

Now new photos highlight the extent of the disrepair to original features, some of which date back to its grand opening in 1931.

They also show evidence of more recent times, with discarded tattered posters for movies including Rain Man still lying on the floor.

Rain Man

The images were taken by urban explorer Chris who has visited the building twice over the past couple of weeks, once staying overnight with two fellow explorers.

He describes the state of the cinema as ‘heart-breaking’ and says he hopes that by sharing the photos he may inspire someone to bring what was a beautiful landmark back to its former glory.

“It’s such a shame to see these things happen to buildings like the ABC. It’s either vandals who are ruining them or they’re just being left to go to waste which is really sad.

“As soon as we went in it seemed like one of the doors had been set on fire, then going through the carpets were soaking wet from a burst pipe or rainwater coming in and there was a very strong mouldy smell in there.

Inside the derelict ABC Cinema Lime Street 4

“The old curtains were still up in front of the stage, but I noticed they’d been set on fire as well, and part of the side column of the stage had been destroyed.”

31-year-old band vocalist Chris says he began urban exploring to follow a passion for documenting the history of buildings in decline.

He stresses that he’s careful not to cause any damage or take anything away from abandoned sites he visits.

“If you have to damage something to get in then I don’t bother, I’m against forcing an entry so we don’t go down that route, and if we’re ever asked to leave then we’re always respectful of that and go. 

Inside the derelict ABC Cinema Lime Street 4

“In the past, when places have been boarded up and there’s no entry whatsoever, sometimes just being there and admiring it from the outside is more than enough.

“We don’t vandalise, we don’t touch or take anything, we just take away memories in the form of experiences, photos, and videos, to share with people.

“With the ABC, we noticed it was open again – clearly somebody had pulled some metal sheeting away – so we thought we’d take the opportunity to have a look inside.” 

Inside the derelict ABC Cinema Lime Street 4

Although he’s based in Oldham, Chris often spends time in Liverpool because it has so much potential for exploring. He’s been inside the Lime Street cinema before and says he found an obvious deterioration this time.

“Because I’d done it in the past I wanted to revisit and refilm it again. When I saw it a couple of years ago the chandelier was still up, but obviously people have gone in and vandalized that. All the old lenses which were lined up have been taken and there was working power when I first went in but that’s all been destroyed. 

“There’s definitely a strange eerie feeling to the place now and we heard a few bangs and saw shadows we couldn’t explain.”

Chris says he hopes that seeing the photos will spark some happy memories for people who went to the ABC in its heyday. 

“Thousands of people pass the building every day and probably stop even noticing it. But it’s such a beautiful place so if this can bring It back into the spotlight and means people don’t forget it, then that’s something.

“It’s like reaching out to people to say, ‘come and restore this, give it life again’. Me filming it to share, then people sharing their own memories, is like reliving it again and bringing it back to life even if only for a brief time.”

Chris has shared his videos via his YouTube channel 

Get more history news for Liverpool here.



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