Coronet Cinema

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

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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!

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.

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.

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

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

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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.

monophonic
monophonic on November 8, 2007 at 1:43 am

I was 2nd in 67 or 68 but not for long as I went back to being a chef. Rita Swan was chief and the relief manager was an old boy called Vincent Tildsley who with his Mastersingers had had a hit with Pedro The Fisherman in the film The Lisbon Story. On duty he wore a well worn eveing suit and a pair of brown hushpuppies also very worn.I remember Martin Lamb coming as a relief a couple of times.Does anyone know what happened to Rita as I would love to catch up with her and her fella Ken who I think was the chief befor her.
posted by Melvyn Marsh on 9 Nov 07 at 1.40am

kiwidownunder
kiwidownunder on July 8, 2007 at 6:58 am

I have left some comments in the past on this site,and great to see the old lady still going strong.
Havent heard much from previous staff to date.I was there up to the time that it was sold to the present company concerned by the Rank Organisation.I also relief projectionist round many great Odeon sites.
I have a new email address .nz

Aldo
Aldo on May 9, 2007 at 7:54 am

Thank you SharkBytes for sharing such interesting information. Incidentally I am a mature, undergraduate student of Journalism and would like to contact you with a view to unravel some more of your memories of The Coronet. I am working right now on that assignment.

Kindly e-mail me at: . Please note your phone mumber and I will then call you back for a chat.

Best regards

Aldo

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on May 4, 2007 at 1:06 pm

I love this place. Go see a movie here and its like going back in time and going to your local cinema. Great atmosphere in a great auditorium with a great audience. Worth the effort to get to Notting Hill Gate to see a movie here what with all the bars and restaurants in the area. Highly recomended.

Rob999
Rob999 on November 8, 2006 at 9:40 pm

Something is happening at this old theatre-turned cinema. It is always busy and especially chaotic on ½ price night. Good to see the grand old lady back!!

movieworld
movieworld on April 4, 2006 at 7:47 pm

THERE IS A MISTAKE ABOVE,SO WE WILL TRY AGAIN!!

The official web-site of the CORONET is www.coronet.org

To find out what is going on in London as a whole,you should visit
www.moviedata.co.uk which has some great links,as well as the pick
of each weeks releases,with dates and locations.

movieworld
movieworld on April 4, 2006 at 7:39 pm

The official web-site of the CORONET is www.coronet.or

To find out what is going on in London as a whole,you should visit
www.moviedata.co.uk which has some great links,as well as the pick
of the releases,with dates and locations.

Filmjoin
Filmjoin on January 12, 2006 at 8:05 pm

I am writing a history sort of the Coronet Cinema for an unofficial Coronet cinema web site www.coronetcinema.co.uk and I was wondering if anyone knew were I could go to get more information about the building. I have all the usual stuff- when it opened – most of the owners over the years. I would particularly like to get a hold of some images of the building through the years.

movieworld
movieworld on December 23, 2005 at 6:20 pm

I am pleased to annouce,as we enter the year 2006,that the CORONET
is now up and running again,with great success.

Sharkbytes
Sharkbytes on November 30, 2005 at 2:28 pm

Hi Ken. As a newbie here I don’t know how to email you. I think I may have moved on by the time you came to Classic. The Manager was my friend Marcus Wedge with whom like all local cinema managers we had very good relationship. Lending icecream, kiaora orange, getting drunk, that sort of thing. I think I met Martin. The Classic had Cinnemechanicas that we envied…though history shows that our ancient Kallees were the really “proper” grown up machines with popping arcs and clanking change-overs. That said I do know your name so perhaps paths crossed. Park Royal. Morden? Didn’t know many Classic mgrs. Terry Herold at Balham a notable exception. And Bryan Yeoman…But will save these names for email lest other readers are bored.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 30, 2005 at 1:38 pm

Hi sharkbytes; Thanks for posting your reminicences of your time at the Coronet and more about its history. I don’t know if you were still there when I was Manager of the nearby Classic Cinema (now Gate Picture House) in 1968 to 1970ish and we may know each other? Can you remember Martin Lamb who was chief projectionist at the Coronet at that period of time? I am still in touch with him. E-mail me if you would like further information.

Sharkbytes
Sharkbytes on November 30, 2005 at 12:50 pm

I was Manager of the Coronet (then Gaumont, one of Rank Organisation’s mighty chain) for a couple of years from 1965. Despite the problems inherent in managing a theatre largely unchanged from its heyday in the 1890s when Irving, Bernhardt, Terry et al had trodden its boards I look back on it as an unique experience.

After twenty years of legitimate theatre (its performances always critiqued in no less an organ than The Times) it became a silent cinema. The original 1100+ seating was considerably lessened by the closure for safety reasons of the very steeply raked upper circle. (Seats had also been removed in the Dress (or lower) Circle to accommodate the projection beam from the adjacent Operating Box). That upper circle was a time-warp, the key had simply been turned in the doors four decades before.

By the time I arrived the cinema was ‘off-release’, the product-cream going to Rank’s Odeon Bayswater. This had the virtue of allowing me to have a hand in booking what audiences suggested. This was a time of continuous performances from 1.00pm till 11.00, double-feature and the ‘Look at Life’ magazine programme that had replaced Gaumont British News some years before.

That Sixties Notting Hill, of race-riots, flower-power and some extremely pungeant smoking is a far cry from the upmarket neighbourhood now. But I remember the Coronet with affection.
The box at stage OP which had been King Edward’s had by my time become nothing more than a popcorn storage cupboard.
I recall the extraordinary lesbian-paintings with which an unknown patron adorned the plaster scrolls in the Circle ladies one afternoon, (an unusually boring matinee perhaps?). Little masterpieces which decorum -and an agitated Regional Controller – dictated my painting over in white emulsion. They are probably still to be found if you scrape carefully. The stage was still a fully-equipped Victorian stage, the fly area still displaying old-fashioned sailor pegs used to secure the ropes of flying scenery. Old war-time posters disclosed its understage area to have been a WW2 air raid shelter.
And it had a ghost. I remember Peter Hall, then Manager of the Rank flagship theatre, Odeon Leicester Square, seeking me out at a press show expressly to ask if I had experienced the spectre (which I had) and was identical to his experience some thirty years earlier when he too had managed the theatre.

I am glad that the Coronet survives in a list of diminishing silver screens. Long may it do so.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 11, 2005 at 1:55 pm

A 1968 exterior photograph of the Gaumont, Notting Hill here:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 27, 2005 at 8:06 am

Some photographs of the Coronet Cinema here:
http://www.merciacinema.org.uk/gallery8.htm