About the object
Bands including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played here – who did you see? Or if you could see any band from any time – who would it be and what happens on your dream night out?
The Adephi was built in 1929, and opened on 17th February 1930. The photograph shows it still as the Adelphi, but it was subsequently used as a Bingo Hall.
Lawrence Armstrong describes the history of the cinema as follows: The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer of 15 February 1929 carried an article about a planned new cinema for the town. It was to be built on the Bath Road and would be called the Adelphi. The intended building would allow 2,002 seats, would have a spacious foyer with waiting areas and cloakrooms. An organ would be installed on the stage. The plans came to fruition and the cinema opened on 17 February 1930. It was to be the first of the town’s super cinemas and was built on the site of two early Victorian mansions Montem and Montrose.
The cinema was the brainchild of Councillor E. T. Bowyer (who performed the opening ceremony of the Commodore a few years later) and Fredrick Iona Smith. The Adelphi was designed by Eric Norman Bailey of Maidenhead and built by H. D. Bowyer and sons. The cinema had 2014 seats, a dance hall with spring floor, a stage for live shows and a free car park at its front. The opening performance included: news magazines, the film On With the Show that was, reproduced by Western Electric Sound System and a stage show by Kingsley Lark and Elsie Griffen from the London Coliseum.
The Adelphi was taken over by Union Cinemas in 1933 and by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) in 1937. Granada acquired the lease in 1953 and bought the site for £250,000 in 1970. The live performances at the Adelphi reads like a history of popular entertainment of the twentieth century.
On 27 July 1945 the final function of the Slough Fire Guards was held in the Adelphi Ballroom to mark the conclusion of the Second World War. Meanwhile, the stage facilities in the cinema saw local societies performing there. Famous artistes to have graced its huge stage have included: Yehudi Menuhin, Billy Cotton, Nana Mouskouri, The Beatles (November 1963), The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Little Richard and the Walker Brothers. Wrestling bouts have also featured. Max Miller appeared for one week in May 1951.
The Slough Observer of Friday February 2 1973 contained an interview with a cashier of 20 years’ service at the Adelphi. The lady recalled the day the Rolling Stones arrived. She did not recognise them and asked them to leave due to their scruffy appearance. In its day the Adelphi also had Saturday morning children’s shows. The complete article by Lawrence Armstrong, Slough Cinemas Revisited, can also be viewed on Slough History Online.