Palais de Luxe Cinema

37 Harbour Street,
Whitstable, CT5 1AJ

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Additional Info

Architects: William George Robert Sprague

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Hippodrome Theatre

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Palais de Luxe Cinema

In Whitstable, Kent, this building is believed to have started life as the Hippodrome Theatre, but it was converted into the Palais de Luxe Cinema, to designs by noted theatre architect W. G. R. Sprague, which opened on Saturday 7th January 1911.

An announcement was made on 19th April 1912 that the premises were to be enlarged. No further details were provided, but there had been reports of full houses leading to patrons being turned away, so perhaps at least one of the works was to increase the seating capacity.

By 1920, P. L. Uden had taken over, and he oversaw further enlargement, by extending into the empty premises next door, previously a butcher’s shop run by G. A. Gann.

In 1921 W. Edwin Chinnick took over, and he introduced concert party variety shows, in addition to the films. The stage was 16ft deep and there were three dressing rooms.

It is thought that what has been described as a “primitive” sound system was installed, and “The Love Parade”, starring Maurice Chevalier, was screened. But this was not a success and, rather than installing an updated system, the Palais de Luxe Cinema closed down.

After standing empty for a couple of years, in 1933 the building became home to H. F. T. Davey’s furniture shop. In the 1960’s it was occupied by W. A. Fields Home Furnishings. In more recent times, it became Harbour Street Shopping Arcade. A considerable amount to reconstruction over the years has erased the building’s cinematic history.

Contributed by David Simpson
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