The Forum Cinema
The cinema was the fifth of the first six cinemas to be built in Ealing and is now the only survivor from the period. Originally it was called The Forum, then The ABC from about 1968, and it is now known as the UGC.
Mr Stanley Beard, who had specialised in cinema architecture since 1928, designed the cinema. Cinema magnate, Herbert Yapp, had commissioned him to design six cinemas, though the one he worked on in Ealing is not considered to be the best. Some remarked that it was 'quasi-Egyptian' in style, despite the name Forum conjuring up images of ancient Rome.
The opening ceremony took place in April 1934. Jack Buchanan, a famous British actor of the period (once termed 'Scotland's answer to Fred Astaire'), officially opened it. He reportedly said the only thing wrong with the cinema was that it was not showing one of his films. The star-spotting crowd, led to the Uxbridge Road being closed off to traffic. The first film to be shown was one actually made in Ealing, Love, Life and Laughter, starring Gracie Fields.
The major change occurred in 1975, when two auditoriums were added, resulting in capacity for 2,175 people. The existing projection room was retained for screen one, while new rooms were installed for screens two and three. The 'brand new triple cinema' could now show three films at any one time. One local critic, while applauding the increase in choice, said of the changes: "the old 'picture palaces' are part of our heritage they are now in peril of disappearing". Cinema manager, Alec McCoy, remarked that it was now 'an entertainment centre, rather than just a cinema'.
In 1984 the cinema's golden anniversary was celebrated, with special guests from the world of TV and comedy, as well as three of the original audience of the 1934 opening.We would like to thank Dr Jonathan Oates, borough archivist and local history librarian, for the use of his information.