Historic cinema on at risk register

By James HoreONE of the country's oldest cinemas has been placed on the Buildings at Risk Register in an attempt to protect its future. The Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich was built in 1911 at a cost of £1,500 and has undergone extensive restoration work in recent years.

By James Hore

ONE of the country's oldest cinemas has been placed on the Buildings at Risk Register in an attempt to protect its future.

The Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich was built in 1911 at a cost of £1,500 and has undergone extensive restoration work in recent years.

But English Heritage has now announced the grade II* listed building has been placed on its Buildings at Risk Register because of newly-identified problems with the structure.


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A report from English Heritage revealed the cinema's reinforced floor beams at the front of the building had reached an advanced state of decay.

The Electric Palace Cinema has been placed on the list as a way of highlighting what the town stands to lose if funding cannot be found for repairs.

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Chris Strachan, chairman of the trustees for the cinema, said a decision would be taken shortly about the best way forward.

He added: “English Heritage did a very full survey and the report came out this week and we now know exactly what the problems are and have been given a list of options.

“There is nothing that says there is a danger and we have not been told we cannot continue operating. There will be a meeting of the trustees and there is a range of options available.”

Mr Strachan said the problems had first come to light when cracks appeared on the building, which was only repainted in recent years.

“We have been in discussion with English Heritage for about nine months or so and received a structural survey and report earlier this week,” he added.

“It has been expected because we have been aware of the problems for about a year now.”

Mr Strachan said once a decision had been made about the exact work needed, there would be fundraising to meet the cost.

The English Heritage report described the condition of the building - which paid host to the Queen during her tour of the town last year - as “poor”.

But some buildings in Essex have been taken off the Buildings at Risk Register including the Martello Tower “F” at Marine Parade in Clacton, the Martello Tower “C” at St Osyth Beach and The Shell House at Hatfield Forest in Hatfield Broad Oak.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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