Comments from PeterK

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PeterK commented about New Gallery Cinema on Jun 28, 2004 at 9:39 pm

Some more history – before it was a cinema it was an art gallery – hence the name. It was opened in 1888 by the artists Bryne-Jones and Halle and was well known in the closing years of the 19th century for exhibitions of Arts and Crafts movement artists such as William Morris. There is a painting of it as anm art gallery hanghing in the foyer of another London west end Theatre which I remember seeing in the 1970’s, but I’ve forgotten which one. In the 1930’s it was known as the New Gallery Kinema (spelt with with a ‘K’). The Wurlitzer had real drums, trumpets and whistles in the upper chambers which you could play remotely from the console, which I had fun doing as a kid. Peter K

Peter K

PeterK commented about New Gallery Cinema on Jun 28, 2004 at 9:24 pm

Here’s some more information about the history of the New Gallery Cinema from – “No 123 Regent Street is the entrance to the new Gallery Cinema, opened in 1913, having been re-modelled out of the previous restaurant by William Woodward. It had 800 seats and the largest cinema orchestra in London. The cinema was extensively reconstructed and refurbished in 1924 by Nicholas and Dixon-Spain; decorated in a Grecian style, it had a 265 feet long frieze by Gertrude Halsey. In 1926 a Wurlizer Model F organ was installed, the first in a West End cinema.” I believe it featured premieres of films by Charlie Chaplin and later Jessie Matthews. PeterK

PeterK commented about New Gallery Cinema on Jun 28, 2004 at 6:51 pm

I spent long hours exploring the New Gallery as a child when my father worked there for the Seventh Day Adventist church from 1954 – 1961 and can provide many anecdotes if this is of interest. I can well remember the old Wurlitzer (with Theatre Oragn society concerts being held regularly) and the original arc projectors in the roof-top projection room which ocassionally caused the film to catch fire. “Good” films were shown frequently and not just religious ones. There was also a 2WW air raid shelter in the basement with bicycle-driven air pumps which I used to play on. Peter K