Reigate, RH2 7AD
Date opened as the Hippodrome: Saturday 16th October 1915.
Date closed: 1969.
Owners: Alfred Wright/Lew Davies/Henry and Emmie Bancroft/Shipman & King.
Architects (1936): Carter and Young of Kingston.
Building Contractors (1936): T.J. Brandon and Sons Ltd of Brighton.
First film shown: “The Outcast” starring Mae Marsh and Ralph Lewis.
Seating Capacity (1936): 620.
Before becoming known as the Hippodrome Reigate The cinema was known as the Palace Picturdrome opening on Monday 18th December 1911. Seating was for seven hundred and fifty and was opened by the Mayor Mr F.E. Lemon. The owner was a Mr Alfred Wright. The press said the hall, which had a sloping floor had enough room to house an orchestra. The hall was due to open in the afternoon but due to unforseen circumstances was delayed until the evening. Films included ‘Siege of Calais’ and Pathe’s Illustrated Gazette. The cinema only opened in the evening.
The cinema became the Hippodrome on Saturday 16th October 1915. The theatre was redecorated and a new stage was installed. It was opened at 6pm by the Mayor of Reigate G. H. R. Ince and the whole of the proceeds were given to the British Red Cross local flag day fund.
There was a new proprietor when it became the Hippodrome. This was a Mr Lew Davies, who also ran the Grand cinema Evesham and the Electric Theatre Bath. It was stated that Mr Davies would have high class vaudeville as well pictures, which were first release. From Monday 18th October ‘The Outcast’ was screened for three days. The second half of the week ‘Remember Belgium’ was the attraction.
In 1916 the theatre was taken over by Henry and Emmie Bancroft and was known as The Premiere Picture Theatre of Surrey. In early 1936 the cinema closed for alterations and seating was reduced to 620. It was at this point that Shipman and King came on board with the Bancroft’s.
The new colour scheme was in pink and gold, interspersed with silver. A new exit was built allowing patrons to exit straight to the street. Cloakrooms were added in the balcony and downstairs.
The general re-building work was carried out by T.J. Brandon and Sons Ltd of Brighton to plans drawn up by Carter and Young of Kingston. The theatre re-opened on the 23rd November 1936 with the film ‘Mr Deeds Goes to Town’. This was projected on to a new screen. It is believed that the cinema’s last showing was in 1969. The cinema became yet another victim of the wrecking ball.
David A Ellis©chestercinemas.co.uk