The Electric Palace cinema, Harwich, is one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas to survive complete with its silent screen, original projection room and ornamental frontage still intact. It was designed by the architect Harold Ridley Hooper of Ipswich. The Electric Palace opened on King’s Quay Street in 1911, closed in 1956 and the Grade II-listed building reopened in 1981.
ne of the oldest cinemas in the country is expected to reopen in 2020 after nearly £1m of restoration work – a year later than planned. Electric Palace in Harwich is having asbestos removed and its roof stabilised, with funding from Historic England and the Heritage. You’re the aspiring actor Clive Owen, it’s the mid-Eighties, and you are out to impress your girlfriend and fellow RADA graduate Sarah-Jane Fenton.
Work at the cinema was undertaken over fears for the stability of the roof, following incidents at a theatre in London in 2013, which saw 76 people injured, and at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre in 2011, when no-one was inside. While much of the funding has come in grants Mr Crawford said the trustees were appealing for donations and needed to raise about £70,000 for the work.