Chesham, HP5 1LJ
Date opened: 11th January 1937.
Date closed: 24th April 1982.
Owners: Shipman & King.
Building Contractors: Bovis Ltd.
First film shown: “Poor Little Rich Girl”.
Final film shown: “Evil under the Sun”.
Architect: David E Nye.
Seating Capacity: 1300.
The Embassy, Germain Street Chesham, run by Shipman and King opened for business on 11th January 1937 and it should have been opened by Lord Chesham, supported by WF Lowndes JP. Unfortunately both fell ill. At the last moment a Mr E. Culverhouse, Chairman of Chesham Council deputised. There was also an appearance by film star John Lodge. He asked to be excused for appearing in make-up, explaining that he had come straight from the set. A Mr N Guy Walker, the circuit supervisor made the announcement about the change and said that Lord Chesham sent his best wishes.
Following the opening performance many guests of Shipman and King dined in the restaurant. Seating was for 1300 and there was provision for an organ, which was never installed.
The opening attraction was ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’. The cinema was designed by David E Nye of Tufton Street, London, and building work was by Bovis Ltd. In 1981 it was reported that the cinema retained some of the best 1930s period fittings and the original carpet. It was in 1981 that the CTA paid it a visit.
A fortnight after opening, two cats were discovered inside a canopy through which ran electrical wiring. An opening was made by workmen to allow them to escape.
The cinema also housed a restaurant on the first floor and up in the projection room Western Electric Sound was employed. At the rear of the cinema there was a large car park for patrons. In 1976 the car park was used as a market on Wednesdays from 9am until 4.30. This was opened by actor William Roache on the 1st December.
1964 wasn’t a good year for the cinema. In June the cinema was a victim of arson when a fourteen year old set it on fire. Two thousand pounds worth of damage was done to the foyer area. Then in August they had a burglary. In the mid-1970s it was run by EMI. They ran the theatre until the 24th April 1982. The last film was “Evil under the Sun”. In June 1983 the bulldozers came calling and it was demolished and replaced by housing. Some of the interior features are held by the Museum of London.
David A Ellis©chestercinemas.co.uk