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The Hippodrome Cinema opened in 1928 designed for the Bancroft family by Messrs F.B. Ward & C.E.A. Woolnough. It had 903 seats in the stalls and circle layout. The circle had an unusual extension towards the screen with three moulded box front fronts, but there does not seem to have been box partitions around them. The proscenium arch was 32 feet wide and there was a stage 24 feet deep with five dressing rooms provided. The company name for this and the nearby Regent Cinema (also with a stage, but now demolished) was March Amusements and the initials MA Ltd can be seen on a cartouche at the top of the facade on Dartford Road. The other street side in Darthill Road is also of interest with the stage doors, ornate windows and decorated exit doors.
The Hippodrome Cinema was taken over by the Star Cinemas group in the 1960’s and was closed in favour of bingo in 1970. A couple of attempts to re-introduce films failed until 2001 when the circle was adapted with new seats in every other row (giving fantastic legroom), new projectors, Dolby sound and a new screen in the original proscenium were all installed. The Hippodrome Cinema recently screened films each Monday and Tuesday, using the circle seating only, whilst bingo continued the other evenings of the week using the stalls (tables and chairs) and circle seats. New owners took over in early-2009, and film use ended, with bingo continuing, plus a planned use for stage productions envisaged. However, bingo use ended, and in July 2010, the building had been purchased by the J.D. Wetherspoon chain, to be converted into one of their pubs.
There is a refreshment room with a separate entrance from the front or doors from the circle foyer. The Hippodrome Cinema has seen little material alteration in nearly 80 years of use and is an attractive and comfortable survivor.
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