Historic cinema needs £50k for major revamp

Former Harwich Mayor John Brown outside the Electric Palace Cinema last year Picture: SARAH LUCY BR

Former Harwich Mayor John Brown outside the Electric Palace Cinema last year Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

An historic cinema has launched a fundraising campaign to help secure its future.

The Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich is looking to raise £50,000 to help continue its renovation works.

The cinema opened its doors for the first time in November 1911.

It closed its doors in 1956, only to re-open 25 years later as a community cinema specialising in live and music events.

The Grade II* listed building has long been in need of serious renovation and work has long been under way to try and restore a wide number of areas within the building, including its original plaster ceiling and redecorating the auditorium.

The project benefited from a large amount of funding over the past few years, including more than £500,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

However, in January asbestos was found in the building and the renovation works had to be halted and the site closed up.

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The project's contingency fund was not enough to help resolve the issue and there were concerns that the cinema may have to close for good.

Since then, Historic England have put the cinema on the Heritage at Risk Register and more money has been obtained to fund the asbestos removal.

However, a crowdfunding page has now been set up online to try and help raise £50,000 to finish off the project, including renovating the chairs inside the palace.

So far, it has raised just over £6,000.

Sarah Odell, a fundraiser for the project said: "The asbestos bill came in at a huge amount.

"We decided that a crowdfunding project for the chairs would be quite appealing because it's something people can see and benefit from.

"One thing that has become clear is how valued it is by both residents and people from well beyond Harwich."

Miss Odell said the project had received a large number of requests from members of the public to help.

"We have been live since Monday. It's huge to see people giving straight away," said Miss Odell.

"There's still a long way to go but we feel positive."

It is hoped that the cinema will be re-opened to the public by next summer.

You can donate to the cinema's crowdfunding project online.

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