ABC Selly Oak

Imposing art deco cinema which stood at the junction of Chapel Lane and Bristol Road for sixty years. Designed by Harold Seymour Scott, also responsible for the Regal in Handsworth and the Pavilion in Stirchley. It converted to sound in late 1929, and after ABC acquired the venue from the Barber circuit in 1935 it was enlarged and refurbished. Audiences remember the large oak tree tile in the entrance foyer. Briefly run by an independent operator in 1978 and then closed the following year, the building was demolished in 1984. A Sainsburys was built on the site, which in turn closed down in 2018.

“The Oak Cinema, Selly Oak, was reopened yesterday after being equipped with sound reproducing apparatus. The first talkie shown at this popular suburban house was The Broadway Melody which will be retained on Wednesday. For the concluding half of next week the manager announced the talking version of the The four devils with Janet Gaynor.”

763 Bristol Rd, B29 6SJ

Images courtesy of the Cinema Museum

“My first date with a boy was at Selly Oak Cinema in 1977 – James Bond. I took ages to decide what to wear – went for the ‘casual’ look and wore jeans!”

Click any image to open lightbox

“An ex-soldier who admitted trying to rob a safe so that he could return to Italy and the girl he loved, was fined £20 by the Recorder of Birmingham yesterday. And with the fine, the Recorder wished him “happiness with the lady from Bologna.” The ex-soldier, now a fitter, is 32-year-old Albert Edwards Hands, of Birkdale Grove, Selly Oak, Birmingham. Hands said when he broke into the Oak Cinema, Selly Oak, he could not open the safe and he fled to Italy. He got a job there as a book canvasser. The Italian police then accused him of receiving stolen property. He spent ten months in gaol awaiting trial at which he was sentenced to a further six months.”

We’d love to hear about your film-going experiences in Birmingham. From memories of amazing screenings or communal experiences, to grand days out at the pictures or more personal recollections. How has visiting the cinema shaped your life, and your experience of our city?

Notify of
2 Memories
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I remember seeing, SInbad and the Eye of the Tiger there and Flash (Gordon)

I used to go to the ABC Minors Club on a Saturday matinée with my friends and we used to sing we are the Minors of the ABC. Years after I used to go with my friend Joyce and we would meet our boyfriends Alan Newbold and Geoff Downes

Share your cinema memoriesx