Living Room Cinema

2-4 The Square,
Liphook, GU30 7AH

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Functions: Movies (First Run)

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Living Room Cinema

Remarkably, the large village of Liphook, in Hampshire, has never had a full-time cinema. Instead, residents had to travel the four miles to the Rex at Haslemere. However, even that closed way back in 1986 (see separate Cinema Treasures entry) leaving both places without a cinema.

Enter Claire Beswick, a Liphook native and a veteran of the cinema exhibition industry, having been involved with several cinema circuits, including Odeon and Curzon. Determined to bring a full-time cinema to her home town, she gathered together a group of senior industry executives and put forward plans for the development of the former Anchor Garage, which had stood empty since closure in October 2015.

In February 2019 East Hampshire District Council approved plans to convert - and extend - the site to make way for not only the cinema, but also a new restaurant, three residential units, two town houses and an apartment. The cinema foyer and café bar would be constructed in the existing building, with the auditorium being in a new structure at the rear.

Work began immediately, with the intention of opening the cinema later in 2019. However, progress turned out to be slower than expected and then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic caused major delays.

Eventually, The Living Room Cinema opened on Friday 22nd April 2022, the opening day films being fantasy/adventure “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”, Second World War drama “Operation Mincemeat” and Robert Pattinson as “The Batman”.

The auditorium includes state of the art sound and projection equipment, and luxurious custom-made armchairs and sofas which were manufactured in Belfast.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

DavidSimpson on April 23, 2022 at 1:11 am

As a postscript to the Overview of the Living Room Cinema, a press cutting in the Cinema Theatre Association Archive from February 1995 announced a programme of films at Liphook’s Bohunt Community Centre. The inaugural shows were on Saturday 18th February: Walt Disney’s “Peter Pan” in the afternoon and Steven Spielburg’s “Schindler’s List” in the evening.

Initially, while the response from the public was being gauged, screenings were planned on a monthly basis: the next was to be Disney’s “101 Dalmations”, on Saturday 18th March. Regrettably, there are no further cuttings, so it is not known how popular these shows turned out to be and how long this initiative lasted.

Interestingly, the cutting noted that occasional film shows were being presented in Haslemere Hall (in Haslemere) and by Petersfield Town Council in their “village hall” - otherwise, as with the situation leading up to the founding of the Living Room Cinema, the residents of Liphook had to travel further afield for a screening at a ‘regular’ cinema.

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