Issue 10 - Autumn 2018 Issue

Page 18

The Silver Screens of Margate

Hippodrome 1898-1958


Seb Reilly Built as the New Grand Theatre in 1898 and retitled the Hippodrome, films were screened in the early 1900s as part of a variety programme. After being equipped with a sound system in 1929, it was renamed the Hippodrome Cinema, and in 1931 was taken over by the County Cinemas chain, later returning to use as a theatre until 1940. Having survived the bombings of WWII, the Hippodrome reopened in 1946 and remained in use until the late-50s. It was demolished in the mid-60s and is now the site of Margate Library.

Whilst there are many cinemas throughout Thanet, Margate has been without a screen for over a decade. This year the Margate Film Festival is bringing the movies back to Margate, so writer Seb Reilly has looked through the old reels to find the stories of Margate’s former cinemas

8 1898–195

Parade Cinema 1911-1981

Clifton Cinema 1903-1924

Images Courtesy of: Hippodrome (Granola) Cameo, Astoria and Regal (Buffer) Plaza (Len Gazzard) Clifton, Variety and Dreamland (Anthony Lee)

Purpose-built, the Parade Cinema had a sliding roof for ventilation and single-floor seating when it opened in 1911 opposite Margate Pier. It was renovated in 1937, taken over by the Classic Cinemas chain in 1952, and renamed Classic Repertory Cinema. In 1963 it closed and became a Vogue Bingo Club until 1979, when it was renamed the New Parade Cinema and screened uncensored pornography for two years as a 16mm cinema club. The building was then repurposed into a snooker club, then a social club, and is now the Old Kent Market.

@OldKentMarket Parade Cinema

Having been initially constructed well before the first moving pictures, the Clifton Baths had a drill hall built by Thomas Dalby Reeve, a former Mayor of Margate who founded the Hall by the Sea with George Sanger and after whom Dalby Square is named. In 1903 a cinema was installed in the drill hall, bringing visitors to the area. It closed in 1924, and two years later the site was remodelled into a seaside complex set on several levels, with an open-air swimming pool projecting into the sea. This site was later renamed the Cliftonville Lido.

Cameo Cinema 1912-1969

First opened as the Lounge Picture Salon, this cinema on Northdown Road in Cliftonville was converted from a boarding house and advertised as ‘cool and comfy’ with 550 seats. In 1935 it was renamed the Cameo News Theatre, though it closed a few years later due to the War. In 1944 it reopened as the Cameo Cinema and was used to display wartime news. It had a 404seat capacity and was run by local cinema entrepreneur Lou Morris. It closed at the end of 1969 and was demolished and replaced by three shop units, now the site of Ladbrokes.