This unusual and historic cinema was once an early 19th century farmhouse, before being converted into a recreation and entertainment center serving the nearby Victoria Hotel. After the hotel was destroyed by fire, the building was converted into the 68th cinema in Britain, opening in 1922. It was originally dubbed the “Pavilion Cinema.”
However, upon completion headroom inside didn’t allow for a normal projection system, so a back-projection system was installed. The cinema’s first showing was a film by Charlie Chaplin, after a reel featuring, The Lion Eaters failed to arrive in time for the premiere. The cinema now includes two screens, with the back projection system still operating on screen one, the original auditorium. The Kinema in the Woods is believed to be the only cinema in the United Kingdom to still utilize a back-projection system.
Until 1953, the original auditorium had traditional tip-up seats, except for the first six rows. They were occupied by deck chairs and fetched a premium price from moviegoers.
Captain Carleton Cole Allport, was responsible for this amazing conversion and retained ownership until 1973. The new owner, James Green installed a historic three manual Compton Kinestra theater organ in 1987. Organ performances remain popular events at the venue. During weekend showings, the organ is often played during intervals.
Know Before You Go
The cinema is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.