Kinema in the Woods & Kinema Too

Coronation Road,
Woodhall Spa, LN10 6QD

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Kinema in the Woods & Kinema Too

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1922, the Kinema at Woodhall Spa – unique among the cinemas of Britain – showed its first film, silent of course. It had started life as a concert pavilion looking out over Tennis Courts, Croquet lawn, Gardens and bandstand in the Spa grounds between Victoria Hotel, then in its Edwardian heyday, and the newly built, Petwood House.

Captain (later Major) C. C. Allport converted the concert pavilion into the Pavilion Cinema. The moving picture was the new entertainment of the age, and Woodhall – where people came for rest and recreation – was not to be left behind.

The conversion was achieved very simply – by building onto the north end of the pavilion a corrugated iron shed and projecting onto the transparent screen from the back (aka rear projection). The rock-steady picture was described by a film producer in the 1920’s as the finest projection he had yet seen in Britain, Canada or America. Moreover, Woodhall’s cinema was then only the 68th cinema to be opened in the whole country. The rear projection system – which is what makes the Kinema unique – is still used today, the only example of rear projection now operating in the UK.

Most of the hall was fitted with tip-up seats, but a special and much appreciated feature was that the front six rows were deck chairs. They were much sought after by patrons at 1s 6d (other seats ranged from 1s 3d to 6d). As a throwback to the heyday of the Spa, the deck chairs survived to 1953. Music to accompany the silent films was provided by the Phantom Orchestra. The cinema, or Pavilion Kinema as it became known (and then a little later, Kinema in the Woods because of its setting among the pines) was one of the few provincial picture houses patronised by Royalty on several occasions every year.

In the mid-1970’s the seating capacity was given as 365. A Compton Kinestra 3Manual/9Rank organ was installed in 1987, and the console (which is the only surviving Japanese Laquered console in the UK) was originally installed in the Super Cinema, Charing Cross Road, London in 1927 until 1943.

For half a century it could be said that Major Allport was the Kinema. When he applied for his 50th license in 1972 it was granted free of charge. Today the Kinema in the Woods is part of a small group including the cinemas at Spilsby and Mablethorpe owned and run by James Green. Seating is provided for 280 in the main original auditorium. In 1994 a second 85 seat auditorium was opened adjacent to the original and this new auditorium has its side-walls decorated with scenes of the Lincolnshire countryside, painted by Canadian artist Murray Hubick.

The Kinema always ‘has a comfortable seat for you’. It is open Seven nights a week-and long may it continue.

Contributed by chris perman

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

keiths
keiths on December 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

Is the projection via a mirror, or is the projection equipment modified to handle prints back to front? The only other instance I’ve seen of rear projection in a cinema was in Koln, in Germany, where the box was alongside the auditorium. You could actually SEE the projector through a glass wall during the show – VERY intriguing!

Playhousegoer
Playhousegoer on December 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Hello there Keith…

This is what you need to explain it all, while over my head with the technologies here, I’d recommend getting in touch with them and getting this very good book on its grand history and backgrounds…http://www.thekinemainthewoods.co.uk/merchandise. It will tell you what you need to know and more…plus, if you have not yet been there then you MUST go, it’s just…words fail me, that’s how charming, rustic, charismatic and historical it feels.

keiths
keiths on December 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Thanks very much, I’ll have a look at that.

Playhousegoer
Playhousegoer on February 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

England’s only back projection cinema is leaving 35 mm and going digital. At 14 minutes and 50 seconds in (18/02/10): View link

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on February 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm

This cinema looks absolutely charming and my hopes are that it will continue to be supported by locals and visitors alike/
I must pay a visit when next back in “dear old Blighty.”

Playhousegoer
Playhousegoer on February 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

Google Map it (Woodhall Spa) and see its setting in the woods, it’s the far building on the apex of Coronation Road in the wood (you can see the car parking spaces that go around the cinemas left side). It really IS just simply breathtaking…

[url]http://www.imdb.com/user/ur7361844/comments?start=0&count=191& summary=off&order=date[/url].

Playhousegoer
Playhousegoer on March 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

England’s only back projection cinema, Kinema in the Woods, is now up and running in Google’s “Street View” (March 2010). The best way to appreciate the view into the woods to see this charming, rustic cinema is to travel along The Broadway (Woodhall’s main road) and turn into Spa Road then left by following King George Avenue to the bottom, then turn right into Coronation Road (follow the signposts directions for KINEMA). You should then see the old, disused Spa building (blacked boarded-up windows) and the Kinema is to the left of your picture (use the left “arrow key on your PC keyboard): You’ve experienced the PC effect, now all there is to do is to do the drive, or better, the walk through the woods to this cinema: Enjoy.

keiths
keiths on October 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

A very nice video describing the history of the Kinema is available from the website. It’s fascinating stuff, and well worth a view.

Playhousegoer
Playhousegoer on October 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I have the new DVD and it’s very well put together and a fine historical document. The DVD Extras are, too, enlightening…check it out :)

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