Actor's cinema joy

HOLLYWOOD came to Harwich yesterdayas actor Clive Owen celebrated the Electric Palace cinema's successful renaissance. The King Arthur star was amongst specially invited guests to “the palace” and spoke of his pleasure at seeing the venue, which first opened in 1911, come off the buildings at risk register.

James Hore

HOLLYWOOD came to Harwich yesterdayas actor Clive Owen celebrated the Electric Palace cinema's successful renaissance.

The King Arthur star was amongst specially invited guests to “the palace” and spoke of his pleasure at seeing the venue, which first opened in 1911, come off the buildings at risk register.

He praised local groups and individuals for all their efforts with fundraising and thanked the EADT for its coverage of the restoration campaign.


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The Oscar-nominated star of Closer, who has a home in nearby Wrabness, launched a fundraising appeal in November 2006 and helped secure vital money towards essential repairs to the Grade II* listed building after it was placed on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register.

The register is for buildings judged to be the most important historically in the entire country.

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After raising the �65,000 needed, work has now been completed on vital weight-bearing metal beams in the foyer and frontage area which had been rusting away.

He was joined by members of the Harwich Electric Palace Trust and read through a list of people who had raised money for the venue's restoration, saying how important the cinema is in a world surrounded by “soulless multiplexes”.

He later told the EADT: “It is a fantastic celebration really.

“And it is very genuine when I say am delighted to be part of the success and the finished restoration.”

Owen, who first started going to the cinema more than 20 years ago, dressed in a suit and casual trainers for the event which included the silent screening of A Tale of Two Cities, a film released in the same year as the cinema opened to the public.

Chris Strachan, chairman of the Harwich Electric Palace Trust, explained to the guests the process of the restoration work which saw off the threat of the cinema having to close.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone for getting the project completed well within time and budget and thanks to Clive for your input on the launch night and how you have raised the profile of the campaign.”

An English Heritage spokeswoman said: “The Electric Palace has come off the Buildings at Risk Register and that is because they have done a lot of restoration work.

“Certainly we are pleased that it has come off the register and we were keen to work with them in the early stages to establish what repairs were needed.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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