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The King's Palace Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon

See also in this area - The Wimbledon Theatre - The Regal Theatre

The King's Palace Theatre, Wimbledon decorated for the Coronation of George V and Queen Mary in 1911- Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

Above - The King's Palace Theatre, Wimbledon decorated for the Coronation of George V and Queen Mary in 1911- Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

 

A Programme for the King's Palace Theatre for April 1912.The King's Palace Theatre opened on the 18th of October 1910 and was built by the architect Augustus Stewart Hurst on The Broadway in Wimbledon, and was situated next door to the Wimbledon Theatre which opened two months later on the 26th of December 1910. Apart from being the architect of the King's Palace, Hurst was also the owner and manager of the building until 1928.

As can be seen from the image of the auditorium in a 1912 programme the Theatre was really just a small hall on one level with seating for around 350 people. In its early years it was presenting a mix of the work of all the early Cinema pioneers, such as Kalem, Edison, Reliance, Imp, Gaumont, Urban, Vitagraph, and Nordisk.

Right - A Programme for the King's Palace Theatre for April 1912.

The programme I have may be typical of the general fair of the place. On one night in April 1912 there was the 'Battle of Pottsburg Bridge' a war drama by Kalem; 'Stage Struck Lizzie,' a comedy by Edison; 'A Daughter of Italy,' a Drama by Reliance; 'A Pair of Gloves,' a Comedy by Imp; 'Aquatic Life,' Col. Interest by Gaumont; 'La Cigale,' a Drama by Urban; 'The Ventriloquists Trunk,' a comedy by Vitagraph; 'Varmland,' Scenic by Nordisk; and 'An Episode in the life of King Edward VII'.

In September 1914 the Theatre was greatly enlarged by building a new auditorium at the rear of the building and then converting the old auditorium into a vestibule and lounge for the newly enhanced Theatre. After the Hurst family retired from ownership of the Cinema in 1928 a variety of operators took control of the building.

The Theatre closed in 1941 but was reopened the following year and remained in use until it's final showing of 'My Man and I' on the 30th of April 1955.And that was the end of the King's Palace as a Cinema but the building was then converted into a Roller Skating Rink before its final closure and eventual demolition.

Much of the information on the King's Palace, Wimbledon was gleaned from the excellent Cinema History Website Cinema Treasures.

 

The Auditorium of the King's Palace, Wimbledon - From a Variety Programme for April 22nd 1912

Above - The Auditorium of the King's Palace, Wimbledon - From a Programme for April 22nd 1912

Early film presentations from a Programme for the King's Palace Theatre for April 1912

Above - Early film presentations from a Programme for the King's Palace Theatre for April 1912

 

The Borough of Wimbledon
From 'The Face of London' by Harold P. Clunne 1957

The borough of Wimbledon which contained a Population of 58,390 in 1949 received its Charter of Incorporation in 1905. It is of very modem growth and in 1881 only contained 15,950 inhabitants, but in more recent years London residents were attracted here by the salubrious climate. The town is divided into two parts, the modern residential quarter being on the hill near the site of the old village and the High Street, and adjoining the Common, whilst the working quarter lies below, mostly to the south of the railway and in Merton. The town is approached from the Common by a steep hill, lined with detached mansions on both sides, leading down to the Broadway and the railway station, and here are located the finest shops and the fine new Wimbledon Town Hall opened in 1935. This is a building of three stories faced with Portland stone. Externally it is similar to Wandsworth Town Hall. In the Broadway are the Wimbledon Theatre and a large Regal Cinema and there is also an Odeon Cinema in Worple Road. The Wimbledon Football Club ground and the greyhound stadium are not really in Wimbledon at all, but are situated near the River Wandle close to Summerstown.

The parish church of St Mary, founded in the fourteenth century, was rebuilt in 1778 and in 1860 The Common, which is nearly two hundred feet above the sea level, covers an area of a thousand acres, or nearly onethird of the entire municipal area of Wimbledon. It is one of the wildest and most beautiful and invigorating open spaces near the metropolis, and, together with the adjoining Putney Heath, stands in the same relation to the south-western suburbs of London as does Hampstead Heath to the north-western districts. It is of inestimable value to the surrounding districts, and even through it is only an interval, for Wimbledon and other suburbs continue the town farther afield, it is a great blessing that this delightful heath should be retained for all time in a state of nature.

Wimbledon Common was secured to the public in 1871 and in 1922 was enlarged by forty-two acres laid out as a memorial garden to men of the district who fell in the first World War. Close to the windmill, which stands out boldly on the Common, is a deep ravine containing a lovely woodland of hazel, beech, oak saplings, and silver birch, supplemented by an undergrowth of blackberry bushes, brambles, and a dense growth of bracken. Adjoining this hollow is Queen's Mere, a beautiful sheet of water enlarged in 1888 from a smaller pond fed by the Beverley Brook, a little stream rising near Worcester Park, Malden, flowing across Robin Hood Vale through Richmond Park to Barnes and thence into the Thames at Barn Elms. On the Common are also remains of a Celtic earthwork called Caesar's Camp. From 1860 to 1889 Wimbledon Common was the scene of the meetings of the National Rifle Association, since when they have been transferred to Bisley. In Parkside which flanks the cast side of Wimbledon Common are many fine villas and large blocks of luxury flats built round open quadrangles.

The district of Wimbledon Park, which lies to the east of the Common, consists mainly of large houses standing in spacious gardens situated in what was a part of the original part, but much of it, including the lake, still remains surrounded by an open space which gives distinction to this district. The west side, which is private, covers a steep and richly-wooded hill sloping down to the lake. This contains the Wimbledon Park Cricket, Golf and Sports Club which has a picturesque chalet near the lake amidst charming scenery. The eastern section of Wimbledon Park is now a delightful Recreation Ground which has been partly laid out by the Wimbledon Borough Council with tennis courts and ornamental gardens with public access to the east side of the lake. Wimbledon Park also contains the headquarters of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, whose annual international tournaments now form one of the leading events of the London season.

Above Text on 'The Borough of Wimbledon' is from 'The Face of London' by Harold P. Clunne 1957