BOURNEMOUTH’S Imax building was torn apart on Friday morning signalling the beginning of the end for the Waterfront structure.

The demolition of the four-storey glass structure was greeted with a small round of applause by watching members of the public and councillors, gathered at the seafront to see the symbolic spectacle.

The event saw the entire front atrium pulled apart by the large demolition machine revealing the skeleton of the building inside.

Over the past few months the building has already been stripped, with the demolition of
the main building due to continue next week.

The removal of the structure will open up the sea views that existed between the demolition of
the pier approach swimming baths in 1986 and the construction of the Waterfront in 1998.

Bournemouth council had sought to keep the details of today's event under embargo because it did not want to attract the general public for health and safety reasons.

But Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood took to Twitter to announce: “Place to be: Bnmth Pier 8.45am this Fri for anyone wanting to witness the long overdue demolition of the IMAX!”

Bournemouth Council bought the building for £6.5million in 2010 and began evicting tenants
ready for demolition.

The entire building should be gone by the end of March.

Former Bournemouth resident Jo Gosling said she had come all the way from Bristol to witness
the start of the demolition.

“I used to live and work in Bournemouth. It’s just an eyesore and I’m glad to see the back of it”, she said.

See inside the Imax as it was, browse our archive of pictures through the years and read all our coverage at

The council said yesterday: “The general public can view the start of the deconstruction works via the live webcam at but are asked not to attend the deconstruction site on Friday to see the start of works for health and safety reasons.”

Senior heritage librarian at Bournemouth Libraries, Peter Kazmierczak said he wanted to preserve the moment for future generations.

“I’ve just come down to film the event. It’s really interesting because there has always been a building on this site. I actually got to go inside the building once it had closed after seeing it in the Daily Echo. It was really eerie. I just think it is interesting to preserve the moment for the people of Bournemouth.”

Bournemouth council leader John Beesley said it was a symbolic day for the people of Bournemouth.

“I think it is a very good day the latest stage in the demolition”, he said.

“We have been taking the building down inside since November 5 but the first concert is in June so there is a lot of work to do.

Bournemouth Echo: Vision for the Imax: new image shows how site could look in the future

The planned events space that will replace the IMAX

“Such a lot of people have been desperate to see the building come down and today is the first
time they can see it actually happening.

“We have been working very hard in the building. The reclaimable value is somewhere in the 90 per cent area. It has all got a value.

“What we are seeing today is a tiny percentage and most of what will be coming down will be recycled.

“We are in the depths of the longest and deepest property recession anybody can remember and that is how we were able to buy the building.

“We are putting together a scheme which will last until the private sector can come forward
for the funding for a much bigger development.”

But Cllr Carol Ainge, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Bournemouth council said: “I find it very hard to accept that after the consultation with the residents of Bournemouth, who wanted the building to be lowered and an all weather facility put there, we have now ended up with a slab of concrete open to the elements, at a huge cost of what I believe could be approximately in excess of £8.5million.

“We will have to hope that the weather stays fine if this is to be successful.

“I just would have loved to have seen something useable in all-weathers.”

Bournemouth Echo: IMAX demolition starts this morning

Save the Imax

Two lone protestors from the campaign group Save the Imax said they had come down to remind everybody of the “waste of money” taking place.

Holding signs saying “Tory Town Wreckers” and “Imax Day of Shame”, the duo – Brian Jenner and Sally Wilton - were berated by a member of public, prompting a debate about their protest.

Brian Jenner, who is heading the campaign, claims it is a “grotesque waste” to spend millions of public money on destroying it, says it should be used as a cinema or conference facility.

“There could have been lots of different uses for this building, without millions being spent on destroying it”, he said.

But Poole resident, Stephen Bailey, called the building horrendous and said it was “completely incompetent” allowing it to be built in the first place.

“Something’s got to be done about it. It’s the most ugly building that was ever allowed to come on the seafront”, he told the pair.