Public Hall Cinema
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In Witham, Essex, the Public Hall was opened in March 1894 by Lord Rayleigh, Lord-Lieutenant of Essex. It cost £2,500, with the money being raised, largely through public subscription by the Witham Public Hall Company. The directors of the company included many local dignitaries, among them Admiral Luard and the Honourable C. H. Strutt. After plans to build an Electric Theatre in Newland Street did not reach fruition Bert Pinkham converted the hall into a cinema in 1917.
After a while it was taken over by the Clarke brothers and, by 1921, it had become part of the Tozer and Linsell circuit. In 1933 film shows ceased and the hall was purchased by the then Witham Urban District Council, which undertook a range of major improvements, including a new balcony, an orchestra pit, electric lighting (to replace the gas lighting previously installed) and a new iron fire escape. In 1960 a new dance floor and kitchen were installed, along with an extension to provide a bar area.
On 16 September 2011 the Witham Public Hall Trust signed a 25 year lease to run the hall, the first time it wouldn’t be run by a local authority for nearly 80 years. Films are shown occasionally as one of the many entertainments on offer. Seating is on loose chairs in this general purpose hall.
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