16-18 Oxford Street,
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The Oxford Picture Hall was opened on 11th December 1912. It was a purpose built cinema and had a scrolled and glazed canopy and inside the auditorium seating was on one level. There was a cornice which had heavy plaster decorations and carved capitols.
In 1936, the owners decided to re-build the cinema and work began, with the new building being erected around the original one. The balcony of the new building cleared the roof of the old one by about 2 inches! During re-building the old cinema operated as usual. It was closed for 3 weeks while internal demolition was carried out and the ‘new’ Oxford Cinema was ready to open.
The Oxford Cinema was designed in the (then modern) Art Deco style, by a local architect W.M. Bishop and opened on 27th July 1936 with Jack Hulbert in “Jack Of All Trades”.
Part-time bingo was introduced in 1962 and by 1980 only the 394 seats in the circle were being used on film nights. Films ceased on 4th October 1984 when an audience of 3 and a local newspaper reporter sat down in the circle to see the final film;Michael Caine in “Blame it on Rio”.
The building was used as an independently operated full time Bingo Club for many years, which closed in the summer of 2010. It is now a pub, part of the J. D. Wetherspoon chain which opened on 23rd August 2011 as the Peter Cushing, named after the film star/actor who resided in Whitstable..
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