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Coronet Cinema

2003 Photo from the Ken Roe collection
103-11 High St
Notting Hill Gate (London) UK

Record #5562  
 Opened: 1923
Capacity: 1143 seats
Architect(s): WGR Sprague
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Gaumont

Information for this tour was contributed by Ken Roe.

Built in 1898 as a Drama Theatre, it opened as the Coronet Theatre on 28th November of that year with a production of 'The Geisha'. Stars of the day such as Ellen Terry and Miss Sarah Bernhardt appeared here and the theatre was patronised regularly by King Edward VII. From 1916 films were being presented occasionally, projected from a box located on the stage.

From 1923 it ceased to be a theatre and it became the Coronet Cinema with a new projection box located in what had been the dress circle bar. Seating was reduced to 1,010. The cinema was taken over by Gaumon/Provincial Cinematograph Theatres in 1931 and the stage boxes were removed, although the rest of the elaborate auditorium was retained. It was re-named Gaumont in 1950 and the gallery was closed, giving a seating capacity of 515 (319 seats in the stalls and 196 in the dress circle).

Late in 1972, The Rank Organisation who operated the cinema put in plans to demolish the cinema and build shops and offices on the site, but this was thwarted by a huge outcry and a petition, which included film star Deborah Kerr lending her support. The local Council stepped in and declared the immediate area a conservation area and the supporters won one fight. Rank relented and refurbished the cinema in 1975 but sold it in 1977 to an Independent operator who re-named it Coronet.

Seating was further reduced to 399 with extra spacing in the stalls but another threat came along in 1989 when plans were put forward to convert the building into a McDonald's Restaurant. Again this failed and the building was Listed Grade II. In 1986 permission was given to open a small 151 seat screen on the stage area, providing it could be re-instated back into theatre use if and when required. This opened in 2002 and Panton Films continued to operate the cinema until May 2004 when they sold it to the Kensington Temple, part of the Elim Church movement.

Closing suddenly on 12th May, there were fears that it would be converted into church use, but a week later the Coronet re-opened and assurances were given by the church that it would continue as a cinema and they were planning on a detailed restoration of this historic theatre. It was the only London cinema that still allowed smoking in the auditorium when it briefly closed, but this may well end now under the new management.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

May 2004 photos from the Ken Roe collection.

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December 2003 photos from the Klaus Weber collection.

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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 7/3/2004.

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