The ABC Northampton is a special example of a complete 1930s interior, a rare survivor of the work of W R Glen. It is also (until Oct 1998), the only Glen cinema listed Grade II.
Opened as the Savoy in 1936, it was predominantly sited at the corner of Abbington Street and Lower Mounts, with the main entrance on the corner flanked by lower wings for four shops. The façade had four vertical fins, outlined by neon after dusk, placed between two outside fins against a plain background of terrazzo. Today these fins are truncated, and lower flanking projecting curved corners above the entrance canopy have disappeared. The canopy has been replaced, and decorative metal work in the doors, too, has gone.
Entrance through five pairs of double doors led to a spacious entrance hall, with terrazzo and marble floor, with wide staircases down to the stalls, and up to balcony level. The auditorium, with one curving balcony, originally furnished in autumnal colours, was lit by an oblong ceiling centre with concealed lighting. Proscenium set in deep double-arched recess, flanked with decorative grilles of abstract design. For its time, the design was regarded as progressive, and most of the ornamental detail remains.
In 1993 it was described by Eyles as one of the least altered of the remaining ABCs, still lit in the original way and still with its organ.
Closed for the opening of a new multiplex, prospects looked bleak, and in 1997 it was acquired by Greenham’s Inns for a theme pub. A Public Inquiry in November 1998 required the retention of the balcony. The auditorium has been returned to its full volume, with many of the original features being preserved, under its new use as a Church, the Jesus Centre, and events venue. In 2005 it was also being used for theatre whilst the Theatre Royal and Derngate were undergoing refurbishment.
- 1936 - 1974: (occasional)
- 1936 Design/Construction:Best & Lloyd (Birmingham)- ConsultantlightingH Morris & Co (Glasgow)- ConsultantseatingClark & Fenn- ConsultantdecorationGarton & Thorne- Consultantgrilles
- 1936 Owner/Management: ABC et al
- 1936 Design/Construction:W R Glen- Architect
- 1936 - 1974 Use: (occasional)
- 1974 Alteration: tripledUnknown- Architect
- 1997 Owner/Management: Greenham’s Inns
- 2000 Owner/Management: Jesus Army Charitable Trust
- 2001 Alteration: auditorium restored to full volumeUnknown- Architect
- CapacityLaterDescription1972: 1712