Reigate, RH2 7AD
Date opened: Monday 14th October 1935.
Date closed: 11th December 1982.
Owners: Shipman & King.
Architects: Ward and Woolnough.
Seating Capacity: 2000.
First film shown: ‘Fighting Stock’ starring Tom Walls and Ralph Lynn.
The Majestic cinema, Reigate opened its doors on Bell Street by Bancroft Road, which was named after the Bancroft family. Opening of the cinema took place on Monday the 14th October 1935.
There was a large audience to welcome in the new theatre, which was opened by the Mayor of Reigate F. J Spranger and Sir Malcolm Campbell, father of the late Donald Campbell, famous for his record breaking attempts on land and water.
The cinema which took ten months to erect was designed by Ward and Woolnough. Shipman and King ran the theatre and had been joined in the enterprise by a local man a Mr Henry Bancroft. The germ of the theatre originated in the mind of Bancroft’s late wife Emmie Bancroft. It was said it was her idea and her hobby. Henry Bancroft had acquired the Hippodrome, Reigate in 1916. It had become the Hippodrome in 1915, previously being the Palace Picturdrome.
The opening programme at the sixty three foot high Majestic commenced at 8pm with British Movietone News, which contained an interview with Sir Malcolm. The main feature was ‘Fighting Stock’ starring Tom Walls. Before this was shown organist Reginald New played several numbers on the new Christie organ. These included ‘When I grow too old to dream’ and concluded with Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. Mr New gave a short speech saying he hoped to remain with the people of Reigate and hoped to give them pleasure. After the opening date films were shown continuously from 2pm.
Another organist to sit in the hot seat was Thomas Grosch. There was a cafe and a huge car park to satisfy the needs of patrons. The press described the colour scheme as being a pale shade of red or perhaps, pink and cream being the prevailing wall colour. Seating was in red. Accommodation at the Majestic was 2000. Up in the operating box was a Western Electric sound system.
Apart from films it staged pop concerts in the 1970s and ’80s. The cinema met its end on the 11th December 1982 and like many others faced the wrecking ball.
David A Ellis©chestercinemas.co.uk