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The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
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Theatres in Whitstable, Kent

The Playhouse Theatre - The Assembly Rooms Theatre - The Hippodrome Theatre / Palais de Luxe - The Seasalter Parish Hall - The Oxford Picture Theatre

The Playhouse Theatre, 104 High Street, Whitstable, Kent

Formerly - The Congregational Church / United Reformed Church

The Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

Above - The Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

A Plaque situated in the  Whitstable Playhouse Theatre, dedicated to W. Somerset Maugham - Courtesy Philip Paine.The Playhouse Theatre is situated on the High Street in Whitstable, Kent and is owned and run by the Lindley Players, an amateur theatre group, founded in the mid 1940s, who produce homegrown productions of plays, shows and pantomimes. More information on the Lindley Players can be found here.

The Playhouse Theatre was a reconstruction of the United Reformed Church, formerly the Congregational Church, which was put up for sale in 1978 and subsequently bought by the Lindley Players in 1980, who then began work on converting it for theatrical use in April 1981. The Theatre also stands on the site of Chapel Cottage, mentioned in one of William Somerset Maugham's Whitstable Novels, Maugham had spent his early years in Whitstable (See Plaque Above Right).

A Google StreetView Image of the Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable - Click to Interact.The conversion included building a new stage, removing the balcony from around the side walls of the church, creating a raked auditorium floor, and adding seating to the remainder of the Balcony, along with installation of sound and lighting equipment. Dressing rooms and a bar were installed beneath the auditorium.

Left - A Google StreetView Image of the Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable - Click to Interact.

You may like to visit the Playhouse Theatre's own Website here.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

The Assembly Rooms Theatre, Horsebridge Road, Whitstable, Kent

Later - The Horsebridge Centre

A Google StreetView Image of the Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable, constructed on the site of the former Assembly Rooms Theatre in 2004 - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable, constructed on the site of the former Assembly Rooms Theatre in 2004 - Click to Interact.

The Whitstable Assembly Rooms Theatre was built in 1868 by J. G. Browning, who had also built a house next door. The Theatre started out as a Music Hall but later in 1894 it became an all purpose room as the 'Whitstable Institute for Promotion of Literature, Science and Art'. The building was later enlarged by extending it onto the site of Browning's house next door and a similar site on the other side.

Films were shown in the Theatre by 1909 and in 1910 the Theatre was listed in the Stage Yearbook with the following details:- 'Manager Mr. Robt. B. Reeves. Double license. Holding capacity: Number of persons, 450; amount, £15 to £25, according to prices charged. Stage measurements: 30ft. wide; 17ft. deep; proscenium, 17ft. 6in. wide; 12ft. high. Lighted by gas. Terms for hiring: One night, £2 2s.; longer by arrangement. Amount of deposit required on booking: £1. Has scenery: One act drop and street scene, garden scene, landscape scene, interior scene.

In 1920 the interior was subdivided so that a Dance Hall could be created on the first floor, and the lower part of the Hall was then used for a variety of entertainments.

The Horsebridge Centre in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.The building suffered some bomb damage during the war in 1940 but was later restored and became home to pop concerts from 1950 to 1960. However, after this the lower Hall was converted into a supermarket and entertainment moved to the upper section of the building. In 1987 the building was put to use as a Community Support Centre.

Right - The Horsebridge Centre in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

Today the building on the site of the former Assembly Rooms Theatre is called the Horsebridge Centre, built in 2004, as an Arts and Community Centre for the Town, which is home to a variety of arts events, workshops, and performance.

You may like to visit the Horsebridge Centre's own Website here.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

The Hippodrome Theatre, Harbour Street and Victoria Street, Whitstable, Kent

Later - The Palais de Luxe

The site of the former Hippodrome Theatre, Whitstable in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

Above - The site of the former Hippodrome Theatre, Whitstable in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

The Hippodrome Theatre was situated on the corner of Harbour Street and Victoria Street in Whitstable, and was built and opened as a Cine-Variety Theatre in 1910. The Theatre was designed by by A. A. Kemp and W. G. R. Sprague and was a conversion of two former shops.

Between 1913 and 1918 it was used exclusively as a Cinema called the Palais de Luxe but in 1920 it became home to the 'Landswingers' Concert Party for a while before being returned to retail use in 1931.

The first floor of the building is today in residential use and the lower floors are still in retail use, and all remnants of it ever being a Cine-Variety Theatre are long gone.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

The Seasalter Parish Hall, Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent

Later - The Umbrella Centre

A Google StreetView Image of the former Seasalter Parish Hall, Whistable, today the Umbrella Centre - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the former Seasalter Parish Hall, Whistable, today the Umbrella Centre - Click to Interact.

The Foundation Stone of the Seasalter Hall, Whitstable, today the Umbrella Centre, in a photograph taken in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.The Seasalter Parish Hall was situated on Oxford Street in Whitstable, a few yards away from the former Oxford Picture House. The Hall was opened in the early part of the 20th century, its foundation stone was laid on November the 22nd 1905.

Right - The Foundation Stone of the Seasalter Hall, Whitstable, today the Umbrella Centre, in a photograph taken in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

The Seasalter Hall was put to a variety of uses over the years and was often used for entertainment, today it is in use as the Umbrella Centre, a Community Centre for Whitstable's residents.

The interior of the Umbrella Centre, formerly the Seasalter Parish Hall, in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.In 1910 the Stage Yearbook reported on the Seasalter Parish Hall in Whitstable saying:- 'A modern building, frequently used for concerts. Whitstable has a very fair share of visitors during its season, but these in fine weather seem mainly to patronise alfresco entertainments. There is ample scope for two alfresco parties.

Left - The interior of the Umbrella Centre, formerly the Seasalter Parish Hall, in December 2017 - Courtesy Philip Paine.

During the winter months the hall does well during short engagements. Wednesday is the closing day for the shopkeepers, and that evening and Saturday form the most likely for a full house. Variety entertainments are as a rule much better patronised than dramatic. A good circus or collection of side shows always secures success.' - The Stage Yearbook, 1910.

You may like to visit the Umbrella Centre's own Website here.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

The Oxford Picture Hall, 16 to 18 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent

Later - The Oxford Cinema / Kings Bingo / The Peter Cushing Pub

The Peter Cushing Public House, Whitstable in December 2017, formerly the Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.

Above - The Peter Cushing Public House, Whitstable in December 2017, formerly the Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.

A Plaque on the Peter Cushing Public House, detailing the site's history as the Oxford Picture House and later Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.The Oxford Picture Theatre opened on the 11th of December 1912 and was situated a few yards away from the Seasalter Parish Hall on Oxford Street, Whitstable. The Oxford Picture Theatre was a small purpose built Cinema with just one level of seating and no balcony, but in 1936 it was rebuilt on a much larger scale. Unusually, the new Cinema was constructed around the old one so that it could remain open whilst the new Cinema was being built. Once the new Cinema was finished it was a simple matter to demolish the old one inside which took just three weeks.

Right - A Plaque on the Peter Cushing Public House, detailing the site's history as the Oxford Picture House and later Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.

The new Oxford Cinema, as it was called when it opened on the 27th of July 1936, was designed by local architect W. M. Bishop in the Art Deco Style, with seating for 850 on two levels, Stalls and one Circle. The Cinema opened with a showing of the 1936 film 'Jack of All Trades', and would go on to be a successful venue for Whitstable residents to watch the latest releases for many years.

However, in 1962 the Cinema was turned over to Bingo on a part time basis, and by 1980 it was in use predominantly for Bingo with only the former Circle being used for Films. In October 1984 even this ended and the building went over to full time Bingo use for many years until it was finally closed in 2010.

Inside the Peter Cushing Public House, Whitstable in December 2017, formerly the auditorium of the Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.

Above - Inside the Peter Cushing Public House, Whitstable in December 2017, formerly the auditorium of the Oxford Cinema - Courtesy Philip Paine.

A Google StreetView Image of the Peter Cushing Public House which stands on the site of the former Oxford Picture Hall, and was formerly the Oxford Cinema - Click to Interact.Today the former Cinema building is in use as a J. D. Wetherspoon Public House, which opened after a £1.5 million refurbishment in August 2011 as the 'Peter Cushing', named after the much loved film actor who lived in the Town.

Right - A Google StreetView Image of the Peter Cushing Public House which stands on the site of the former Oxford Picture Hall, and was formerly the Oxford Cinema - Click to Interact.

You may like to visit the Peter Cushing's own Website here.

Some of the information for this building was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website which has some nice pictures of the Cinema here.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Other Pages that may be of Interest