Electric Theatre

Broad Street,
King's Lynn, PE30 1DP

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Electric Theatre

In King’s Lynn, Norfolk, F. H. Cooper brought this cinema to the town. A young estate agent from Wisbech, he had become smitten with moving pictures after going to a fairground cinema show.

Situated next to the cattle market car park, the Electric Theatre opened on 23rd September 1911 with the slogan “The Most Comfortable Hall in the District”.

The cinema’s last pianist for the silent films, Dorothy MacDonald, once recalled “Sometimes I had a sheet telling me what music was required, otherwise I made it up myself. I played for a lot of serials, keeping one eye on the music and the other on the screen”.

From June 1928 it was taken over by the Union Cinema Co. Ltd. The Electric Theatre moved into the sound era when it was equipped with a British Thomson-Houston(BTH) sound system on 4th August 1930 with the talkie “Men Without Women” starring Kenneth MacKenna. From June 1928 it was operated by the Union Cinema Co. Ltd. chain. It was closed on 1st September 1934 for refurbishment, but it remained closed with seats and equipment removed. It was hurriedly re-opened in May 1936 following the fire which had destroyed Union Cinema Co. Ltd. Theatre Royal. Once the Theatre Royal had been re-built and opened by Associated British Cinemas which had taken over the Union Cinema Co. Ltd., the Electric Theatre was closed by ABC on 9th April 1938 with Warner Oland in “Charlie Chan on Broadway”.

During the war, the building was used as an army barracks. It was then used by L. E. Taylor’s, motor engineers, before being demolished in 1969 as part of a town redevelopment.

Contributed by David Simpson
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