1 Stars Lane,
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Located on the corner of Stars Lane and South Street at ‘The Triangle’. The Gaumont Palace was built on the site of the Palace Theatre (1913-1933). It was built for and operated by the Albany Ward/Gaumont British Theatres chain, and opened on 15th December 1934.
The facade is in a Georgian style, in red brick with white stone trim. Seating inside the Art Deco style auditorium was on a stadium plan, with 384 on a raised stepped area at the rear, rather than an overhanging balcony, and 811 on the main floor. The 45 feet wide proscenium had an overhanging plaster canopy which was shaped to converge with a backlit fluted column on each side of the proscenium. The side-walls were covered in tapestry panels of blue and gold, with fluted pillars seperating the panels.
In November 1967, the Gaumont was one of a batch of cinemas sold by the Rank Organisation to the Classic Cinemas chain, and it was renamed Classic Cinema. Bingo was introduced on several days a week, and proved successful. The Classic Cinema was closed to films in November 1972, and the Classic name was transfered across to the town’s Odeon, which Classic Cinemas had just taken over.
The former Gaumont/Classic Cinema became a Vogue Bingo Club, later taken over as a Mecca Bingo Club. In recent years it has operated as an independent Top Ten Bingo Club, which closed on 4th October 2009, another victim of the ban on smoking in public places, the reccession and an increase in the tax on bingo. It reopened as a nightclub in 2010.
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