129 Pier Avenue,
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Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company (Official)
Operated by: Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company
Architects: G.H.B. Gould
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Essoldo, Classic, Mecca Cinema, Coronet-Century, Flicks 1 & 2 Cinemas
The Century Cinema opened on 25th July 1936 with the film “When Knights Were Bold” starring Jack Buchanan and Fay Wray. It was designed in a splendid Art Deco style by local Clacton architect G.H.B. Gould and had seating for 1,743 (1,428 in the stalls and 486 in the circle). There was a café/ballroom located on the mezzanine floor level above the entrance.
There were full stage facilities and six dressing rooms provided and for the first few months of operation it had a cine/variety policy. A Christie 3Manual/7Rank organ was installed that had an illuminated console and it was opened by Frank Matthew.
The Century Cinema was taken over by the Essoldo chain in 1946 and re-named Essoldo. In 1967 the organ was sold and removed, to be installed in the United Reform Church, Ipswich.
Classic Cinemas took control in 1967 and the building was twinned with a Bingo club operating downstairs in the former stalls area and a cinema converted out of the former circle upstairs that had been extended forward to provide 600 seats which became Classic 1. At the same time a second screen opened as Classic 2, seating 187 which was a conversion of the former café/ballroom area. Mecca Ltd. were the next operators of both the cinema & bingo club.
The building has gone through several other changes of ownership through the years and was operated by Gala Bingo Clubs who operate the bingo hall downstairs and the cinemas upstairs. These were the only cinemas operated and booked by Gala, although they operate many former cinema buildings as bingo clubs.
In August 2005 both screens were re-furbished with new seating, carpets and decoration and newer projection facilities were installed. Flicks 1 now seats 420 and Flicks 2 seats 133.
The Flicks 1 & 2 Cinemas was closed on 3rd November 2012. Gala Bingo continued in the former stalls area.
In June 2013, it was taken over on a 15 years lease by Adam Cunard of Picturdrome Electric Theatre Company and re-opened on 21st June 2013, reverting back to the original Century Cinema name. Over 100,000 Pounds was spent on the two auditoriums and the very latest digital equipment was installed. In June 2018 the Gala Bingo Club was re-named Buzz Bingo Club.
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