Regent Cinema fire: Lyme Regis Art Deco venue wrecked by blaze

  • Published
Media caption,

Rob Swain captured the moment a wall collapsed on the roof of the building

The roof of a 1930s Art Deco cinema has collapsed after being engulfed in flames.

Fire broke out at the Grade II listed Regent Cinema in Lyme Regis at lunchtime.

The collapse of the structure meant firefighters were only able to tackle the blaze from outside the building.

Cinema staff and people who were in a shop that also occupies the building are reported to be safe, the fire service said.

Image source, Becca Overton
Image caption,
Firefighters said the blaze was a "well developed fire engulfing the roof"
Image source, @alicebearshop
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Crews were forced to fight the fire from the outside because the roof collapsed

At the height of the blaze, thick black smoke rising from the site could be seen for miles.

Dorset Fire and Rescue said eight crews from three counties worked to prevent the flames spreading to adjoining buildings.

A cordon was put in place and neighbouring businesses were closed for the afternoon.

People with respiratory conditions were advised to keep their windows closed.

Image source, Jess Douglas
Image caption,
People with breathing problems were warned to close their windows

History of the Regent

  • The Regent was opened in 1937 by a local cinema operator Donald Hardy, who operated it until the early 1970s
  • The Art Deco building was designed by Bristol-based architect William Henry Watkins who designed several other cinemas in the South West of England, including the Forum in Bath
  • It is a Grade II listed building
  • Originally it had a "Hollophane" lighting system whereby motorised dimmers slowly changed and mixed red, blue and green lights, concealed in troughs
  • The cinema's original 35mm Phillips DP75 projector has been retained for special performances
Image source, @dorsethouselyme
Image caption,
Shops and businesses in the area had to close
Image caption,
A cordon remains in place around the building

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