For more than a century, the canopy loomed above the bustling Above Bar street, beckoning to countless pedestrians and revealing the secrets concealed within the buildings walls.

In the year 1889, a venue known as Philharmonic Hall in Southampton embarked on a new form of entertainment by introducing moving pictures, marking a significant milestone in the city's cultural history.

Interestingly, despite being a pioneer in cinematic experiences, the hall eventually became one of the last in the city centre to showcase such visuals.

Capturing significant events such as Edward VII's coronation, the state opening of Parliament, and the Lord Mayor's show.

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At the dawn of the new century, audiences were treated to single-reel comedies and dramas starring iconic figures such as John Bunny and Flora Finch. Additionally, the 1904 newsreel chronicling the Battle for Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War was broadcast for all to see.

In a significant event in 1934, the venue underwent another name change to the Regal. This transformation was unveiled by the iconic entertainer Gracie Fields and the esteemed ex-Commodore of the Cunard Fleet, Sir Arthur Rostron.

Upon Fields' grand entrance at the premiere of her most recent film, Love, Life and Laughter, women gasped in awe, men stared in admiration, and even the trams came to a halt.

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The venue underwent a change of ownership in 1937, coming under the control of the Odeon chain.

Back in the year 1948, during an era when movies had limited screening periods, the week featuring Danny Kaye in the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty became a remarkable success story at the establishment.

More than 25,000 enthusiastic viewers flocked to witness this cinematic masterpiece within those seven days, creating a lasting impact on the establishment's history.

Daily Echo: Colin Burgess being presented with prizes for being the 100,000 viewer of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope at the Southampton Odeon. April 4, 1978. Prize being presented by James Tilmouth, cinema manager. THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES. HAMPSHIRE

In the year 1962, a significant moment arrived with a substantial £60,000 renovation leading to a grand reopening, marked by joyous festivities and special appearances by renowned actors Edward Judd and Marla Landi.

On the screen that evening were Sir Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde and Anthony Quayle in HMS Defiant.

The new decor sported what was considered to have been luxurious look and the old Compton organ was sold and removed.

Daily Echo: Queue at Odeon cinema, Southampton for the release of Star War Episode IV: A New Hope. Group of young lads waiting eagerly at the front of the queue. January 29, 1978. THE SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO ARCHIVES. HAMPSHIRE HERITAGE SUPPLEMENT. Ref: 9111f

The doors were shot once again when, in 1979, the cinema gained another auditorium which opened with John Boorman’s Hope and Glory in 1988.

WH Smith bid to take over the ground floor in 1974 but, at the time, Southampton City Council  said it did not want the cinema developed in isolation.

Much upset was caused when the prize-winning and much-loved restaurant which resided there closed down in 1961. There were other off-screen drama which occured there - like in 1968 when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who was there on a promotional visit for the movie, was given a parking ticket.

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Hundreds flocked there in 1975 to watch the Muhammed Ali fight Joe Frazier when the match was beamed by satellite live from Madison Square Gardens.

Despite the cinema's widespread appeal, it met a fate similar to the lost Empire, Carlton, Classic, Rialto, and Regent theatres that once lined the bustling high streets of Southampton and its surrounding areas.

The final curtain fell on the picture house in Southampton city centre as it closed its doors for the last time in 1993.

The closing of the cinema marked the end of an era, one that enjoyed a heyday during the 1930s and 40s when half a dozen other theatres graced the bustling cityscape.

Which films do you remember watching there? Let us know in the comments below.