Originally built by Gaumont, and designed by American architect C. Howard Crane, this luxurious and spectacular cinema opened on September 5th 1938, with 3006 seats.
A bomb destroyed most of the auditorium in 1944, and the cinema remained a closed and derelict shell until 1958, when at last it was restored and reopened, albeit in a plainer style.
The cinema was tripled in 1973, and further screens were added until it became an eight screen complex. All that remains of the original glorious conception is the foyer with its grand sweeping staircase. The balcony waiting area with its coffered ceiling is now the 'Light Cafe'.
11th October 1937 Foundations.
11th October 1937 Putting up the steel frame.
10th December 1937 The framework takes shape.
6th January 1938 Some brickwork and foundations.
24th March 1938 (exterior) Growing steadily.
24th March 1938 (interior) The auditorium.
22nd April 1938 The frontage takes shape.
25th May 1938 Cladding the facade.
19th July 1938 (interior) All that's missing are the seats.
As it was
The foyer Impressive then, still as impressive today.
The entrance lobby
Cafe Today this area is an auditorium.
Balcony waiting area This is now the 'Light Cafe'.
Auditorium cross gangway
Auditorium from stage
Night time exterior as Gaumont
Close up shot of canopy at night
Exterior day (closed) During the post war years, before its restoration.
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