Save the Abbey Cinema building!
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Lidl has bought the Abbey Cinema building in Wavertree, Liverpool. The building has until recently housed a Coop supermarket. Our community misses the Coop and in these tough times, we would welcome a Lidl in Wavertree, but we very much value this beautiful Art Deco building - which formerly housed the Abbey Cinema - and want to see it saved.
The Abbey Cinema was opened in 1939 and remained a favourite 'night out' until its closure in 1979, with many people holding fond memories of first (and last!) dates there. It was also a favourite meeting place for two of our most famous sons – John Lennon and George Harrison. It features in the original lyrics to 'In my Life', in which John's recounts his memories of growing up in and around Wavertree with George.
The Abbey lies within the Wavertree Conservation Area and although it is not currently listed, its Beatles heritage and the building itself are of huge significance to our community. A listing application, led by Save Britain's Heritage, has recently been submitted to Historic England. Many of the interior architectural features of the cinema remain intact, including the celebrated domed ceiling lights. The building's striking Art-Deco style exterior is a notable place-marker and a gatekeeper to our High Street, and it stands proudly among a concentrated grouping of other built heritage assets including Picton Clock (1884) and the Lock-Up (1796). We believe that the heritage value of all three would be impacted significantly if the Abbey were to be demolished and replaced by a standard Lidl building.
(See drone footage of Wavertree and its wonderful concentration of built heritage, including a beautiful shot of the Abbey and its aspect with Picton Clock here: https://youtu.be/7dmI_ttKzCk )
While no firm plans have been announced to demolish, we are aware that Lidl is currently considering its options, and that its general preference is for new-build supermarkets. In this special case, we hope that Lidl will instead agree to retain the building and to consider occupying the ground floor, as Coop did previously. We are keen to work with Lidl to secure the very best outcome for Wavertree and hope that they might also be open to a discussion with Love Wavertree around options for community enterprise uses for the rest of the space. Some of these options could generate significant additional footfall for the supermarket. We are keen, for example, to explore opportunities around an independent cinema and creative, digital, film and new media training centre in line with the £11m Liverpool Film Studios which is set to open in nearby Edge Lane.
Please sign the petition to show your support!
[For more on the Abbey, its history and Love Wavertree's campaign to save the building, please see: https://lovewavertree.org/2020/05/whats-happening-with-the-abbey/ , and a 21/8/20 update - our appeal to discuss The Abbey and its future with Lidl, including the benefits of co-locating a cinema with a supermarket: https://lovewavertree.org/2020/08/a-lidl-plus-a-lidl-more/
04/09 update. We are delighted that this beautiful and nationally significant building has attracted the national attention it deserves, with our campaign featuring in The Observer, here: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/aug/30/threatened-beatles-cinema-needs-a-lidl-help-from-its-friends
Thanks to The Abbey's notable and documented Beatles heritage, our campaign has also featured in Rolling Stone (Germany), the NME (including NME Japan!), Italian, Dutch, Spanish and German music media. Rock and roll! ]
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