Contractors moved in to start work demolishing a landmark Barrow town centre building, the former Apollo cinema at the junction of Abbey Road and Holker Street, in July 2004

The Art Deco-style cinema was built as the Ritz in the great age of films in 1936. It was the time before television and people queued every night to see the latest big screen epic.

It closed in February 1999 when the then owners switched to the multiplex Apollo at Hollywood Park.

Attempts to sell the old Apollo drew little interest.

Diehard film fans, such as Dennis Crabtree, wanted it to be saved as a theatre for the town.

Thousands would be sad to see the leisure landmark go.

Tory borough councillor and pensioner Bill Pears recalled spending the night before his wedding to Morecambe girl Elaine in the Ritz watching the colour blockbuster Gone With The Wind.

He said: "It was a magnificent sort of building. It was absolutely splendid but the cost of refurbishing it would have been astronomical."

Labour councillor Des Barlow, 62, who had just completed his year as mayor, said: "I used to go there years ago when it used to be called the Ritz because I loved not far away in Hindpool. I used to enjoy going down there to the youngsters' show on Saturday mornings."

Barrow Labour councillor Steve Forbes said: "I will be sad to see it go because I have lots of happy memories. My most endearing memory is of Saturday mornings because I was a member of the ABC Minors club. I've still got three of the badges."

He went there at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s while at St Mary's School.

In later years he joined a queue round the corner into Dryden Street for Jaws and also watched James Bond movies there.