One Of The Oldest Cinemas In England Aims To Reopen Its Doors This Christmas

Chloe Byrne Chloe Byrne

One Of The Oldest Cinemas In England Aims To Reopen Its Doors This Christmas

That’s right, the credits have not yet rolled on the beloved cinema. In fact, the 122-year-old venue will be getting it’s very own rewind: dusting off their red-velvet seats, switching on the popcorn machine and firing up the projectors once more. The historic gem will get to fulfil its purpose again, with each film lover that steps over the threshold breathing new life into its Art Deco bones.

The man who is setting this all in motion? Kevin Markwick. He already runs the independent cinema Picture House in Uckfield, East Sussex, another long-running cinema that dates back 104 years. There, he has embraced its classic roots – keeping it cosy and plush with traditional decor – while still showing a mix of independent and mainstream films so the locals won’t be missing out on the next big release.

The Electric has been shut since the beginning of the pandemic. It first opened in 1909, taking over a converted taxi rank, and showed its first silent film a few days after Christmas that year. It has lived many lives, once going though a stint as an amusement arcade and later showing adult films, before the test of time saw it fall into disrepair. The previous owner, Tom Lawes, bought it in an auction in 2004 and went about restoring it to its former glory. During the makeover he even found over 300 old film reels, lying forgotten in the cinema’s roof.

Now, Markwick hopes to open The Electric in time for Christmas. No doubt a busy period; with festive films, chilly weather and school holidays making people turn to the familiar comfort of a cinema as a source of indoor entertainment. The aspirational plans have been met with an influx of support from the locals. Many excited to finally get their indie film fix and see a much-loved piece of the community get a second chance – especially in the hands of someone with a passion for all things cinema.

If you’re a Brummie with a penchant for popcorn and the moving pictures, keep an eye out for any updates on the reopening. If the public’s excitement is any indication, it sounds like tickets will soon be disappearing faster than you can say lights, camera, action.

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