Haslemere Educational Museum
Culture & Learning Since 1888

Haslemere Cinemas

Haslemere’s first cinema was the Empire Picture and Variety Palace on Shepherds Hill. The Regal started in Weyhill in 1915 and was still operating when its owners, Haslemere Cinema Company, built the Rex Cinema nearby in 1936. It opened in September with the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film, "Follow the Fleet". Seat prices ranged from ninepence in the front stalls to two shillings for the dress circle. In its heyday, the Rex showed the latest films, with frequent changes of programme and twice-weekly matinees. It boasted a large café and a Compton organ, played before evening performances. During the Second World War a British plane got into difficulties over Shottermill. Its engine fell in the auditorium of the Rex, causing damage to the screen and stage. Luckily it happened between film screenings and there were few casualties, though the plane’s crew were all killed. The Rex, like other independent cinemas, struggled to fill seats during the 1970s and 1980s. It closed in 1986 with the film "Pale Rider", starring Clint Eastwood, and was demolished for a housing development.