The Gaumont (1950 - 1986)
As part of the Rank Organisation, the theatre has hosted concerts by many famous artists, including Bill Haley & His Comets in 1957, The Beatles in 1963, The Rolling Stones in 1966, Led Zeppelin in 1973, Queen in 1974, 1975 and 1977 and The Police in 1979 and 1982, Rush in Feb 1978 and Kate Bush in 1979.
The building was still, however, mainly used as a cinema, which was in decline, due to the rise of television. This led to Rank investigating a change of use to, either dance hall or ten-pin bowling alley. This did not happen and many other acts appeared, until the end of the 1980s, when acts preferred larger concert halls and arenas.
The theatre was threatened, with a change of use, again, in 1970, when an application was made to convert it into a bingo hall. This also did not happen, but the owners were still not making money. In 1982, the Rank, again, applied to Southampton City Council, for a change of licence, to turn the building into a bingo hall. This was refused in 1983, the year the building also achieved grade II listed status. The council instead offered to buy the building, for £650,000 and a refurbishment of £3 million. This led to the 1989 setting up of a charitable trust, with the lease for a peppercorn rent, to stop the theatre from becoming a political tool. [wikipedia]