The best of cinema at the Coronet

The Coronet was built in 1898 to function as a theatre, but nowadays is better known for being a venue to enjoy the classic experience of old-fashioned cinema. Its striking decor reflects Edwardian grandeur at its best with opulent seating and a royal elegance, which reflects the fact why King Edward VII was a regular patron of the place when variety shows were staged here. It has been refurbished although it cannot be described as being the most technically advanced cinema venue in London. What is lacks in technical aspects it more than compensates in its charming atmosphere, something that is not seen in most modern cinemas in our times. There even is an unsubstantiated rumour that the place is haunted by a former employee. Its two screens offer independent films besides also showing the latest releases.

Cinema in London

It is a convenient distance from the Premier London Notting Hill Hotel, and is a great place to spend a wonderful evening. Another benefit of staying at the trendy Premier London Notting Hill Hotel is the many wonderful cafes and restaurants that you can dine at after watching a movie at the Coronet.

The Coronet was the creation of one of the finest architects of that time W. G. R. Sprague and cost a princely sum of £25,000. The theatre as it was back then was opened to the public in 1898. It was then described by The Era as a “theatre of which the whole country may be proud”. It played host to a number of prominent theatre actors such as theatrical greats like Sarah Bernhardt and Ellen Terry. Despite its elegance and find stage performances it did not do as well as expected, the reason primarily being it was not located within London’s traditional theatre district, the West End. It was only in 1916 that cinema came to the Coronet as being a part of what was then called variety programmes that were a mix of filmed and live performances.

It was in 1923 that it began to function as a full-time cinema although its original capacity of 1,143 seats was reduced to 1,010 seats. It did however retain its theatre interiors, which comprised two upper tiers (a gallery and dress circle) and stalls. In 1931 the large boxes which were placed at the side of the auditorium were removed. The cinema screen was also shifted and placed within the arch of the proscenium. Its projection equipment was placed in what used to be the dress circle bar. The cinema faced the threat of being demolished for redevelopment numerous times, but was saved being a Grade II listed building.

In 1972 it was acquired by the Rank Organisation and the seating capacity was reduced to 399 seats. In 1996 a second screen was created that has a capacity of 151 seats. It now is owned by the fringe theatre, the Print Room, which has made it its permanent new home with plans for further renovations.

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