Coronet Cinema

103-111 Notting Hill Gate,
London, W11 3LB

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20 Oct 2012

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Located in the west London inner-city district of Notting Hill. Opened as the Coronet Theatre (a playhouse) in 1898 with 1,143 seats located in stalls, balcony and gallery. It went over to screening films full time in 1923. In 1931 it was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres/Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) and re-opened on 17th August 1931 with 1,010 seats.

It was re-named Gaumont Theatre in 1950 and continued through to 1977 playing the Gaumont and Rank releases. It was taken over by the independent operator Panton Films from 27th February 1977 and re-named Coronet Cinema, with a reduced seating capacity of 399, using the stalls and balcony seating areas only.

Today, the main original auditorium is virtually intact, however a second screen with 151 seats was erected on the stage in 2002. The main original auditorium now has a seating capacity of 380, with 220 in the stalls and 160 in the balcony(the gallery is unused). In May 2004 it was purchased by a church, but it remains open as a cinema.

The church sold the building in May 2014, and it was due to close on Thursday 29th May 2014 with “X-Men:Days of Futures Past” showing in the main original auditorium and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “American Hustle” showing in screen 2 on the former stage. However, this cinema remained open for two more weeks, and closed on Thursday 12th June 2014. It is the last cinema in London to operate 35mm projectors.

The Coronet Cinema was sold to the Print Room Theatre who had outgrown their Westbourne Grove home. Plans are to renovate and restore the building to the plans of local architecture firm Studio Indigo. The original auditorium was reopen as a cinema, but will also be used as a live theatre. The screen 2 on the former stage will be converted into a small live theatre space. It is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 57 comments)

Sharkbytes
Sharkbytes on November 8, 2007 at 11:36 am

Hi Melvyn, this is Terry Sharkey, Manager at the Coronet (Gaumont) for a few years from 1967 (Not 1965 as I said above). I recall Vincent Tildesley with great affection. He was a character with a long family entertainment background. His brother was (I believe) Peter Haddon who had a theatre company for many years at the beautiful Victorian Wimbledon Theatre. The Lisbon Story was on stage at London’s Hippodrome (Now Talk of the Town) Leicester Square from June 1943 and Vincent Tildesley’s Eight Royal Mastersingers are listed among the principals with Patricia Burke and Noele Gordon. Singers were drawn from such ranks as D’Oyley Carte Opera. Fans can find Vincent and his singers’ version of Pedro on Parlophone F1993 (78rpm) and an EP on SCXSP652. Robinson Cleaver is on the organ. Stirring stuff – if anyone still has a machine to play it!

Rita Swann was an Absolute Ace projectionist in the tiny projection room that was all the space that the ancient theatre conversion allowed. Audiences rarely think about that vital person in the Hollywood chain, only when things go wrong. When Rita was on watch they never did. Early experiments in automation in the sixties saw a thing called Projectomatic. (You’ll know it Melvyn) But for those unfamiliar with 2000 foot spools and mercury-arcs I’ll explain. Projectomatic had bits of silver sellotape stuck to the film- perforations which would trigger impulses to change-over the machines every 20 minutes, dim houselights, pull stage-curtains (remember when local cinemas had curtains!)and even put the lime on the ice-cream lady. (Remember ice-cream ladies?). Unfortunately its inventor had forgotten that projectionists wax prints to ease the film through the projector, and wax is a good insulant, so often preventing the impulse working. But with Rita things would always go like clockwork.

Oh dear. This note has turned into a book-chapter. But that’s the Coronet for you. Long may she prosper.

Ian
Ian on January 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Some interior shots taken in 1988 can be found here:–

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I saw “Malcolm X” here back in 1993 or 93; I sat in the balcony, where smoking was still permitted.

A lovely, lovely house.

Robbie25646
Robbie25646 on September 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I was assistant manager here from 1972 till 1972 with Tony Portch as manager. I fell in love with the place the first time I walked in for my interview with Tony.

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Together with a group of friends, I attended a late night show at the Gaumont one Saturday evening in the early ‘70s. The programme was an Astaire/Rodgers double bill of “Top Hat” and “Swing Time” and the atmosphere in those theatrical surroundings was fantastic. My group were not able to get seats together and, shortly after we took our seats, people were being turned away. After every musical number, enthusiastic applause rang out and a very happy crowd emerged to wend their ways home in the early hours. Following the double bill’s success here, Rank’s Booking Dept. was instructed to only arrange such screenings of one film or the other as it was felt that, in the right locations, each of the films would do well on its own. Thus two profitable shows could be had. Tills, or rather Automaticket machines, would ring merrily and I can’t imagine the films would have cost much to hire. When managing the Odeon, Stockton-On-Tees, I showed “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” as a late night double bill in 1970 – United Artists charged Rank £14.7s.6d for the films (£14.37) and we sold over 700 tickets. I digress!

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