Windmill Theatre, Great Yarmouth

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    Located on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, this opened as the Gem Theatre on 4th July 1908. It is one of the earliest cinema buildings in the U.K. Seating was provided for 700 and the architect was Arthur S. Hewitt.

    It closed in the 1980's and was converted into an indoor childrens play area, later an Odditorium attraction and now houses an amusement arcade and indoor miniture golf. It is a Listed Grade II* building.

    cinematreasures.org.theater/17921/

    1. philipgmayer 90 months ago | reply

      This wasn't built as a cinema.
      It was built as the "Palace of Light" for the showman C. B. Cochran, and opened 4 July 1908.
      It originally had 1,000 light bulbs on the exterior.
      Cochran was well-known at the time, and presented all kinds of live performances, usually called "Cochran Revues".
      However, he didn't present films.
      It was renamed the Gem in 1910, which is when it probably became a cinema.

      Incidently, there are hardly any purpose-built cinemas with original frontages dating from before 1911.
      The front of the Picture House in Birmingham survives.
      The Electric in Portobello Road, the Bedford (Edit: since demolished) and the Kensington, both in Liverpool survive. All 3 opened in December 1910.
      There might (arguably) be one or two more from 1910, but it has to be admitted that original cinema facades are now an endangered species.

    2. Dan K ™ 77 months ago | reply

      Ooh, great cinema minds clash on Flickr! Yarmouth is lucky to have a coupla cool old buildings either way.

    3. mintysweb 32 months ago | reply

      the Gem and the Windmill were 2 different buildings, unfortunately the gem was demolished many many years ago so the windmill was built as a theatre from day 1

    4. philipgmayer 32 months ago | reply


      Hello, mintysweb.
      It looks like you've registered with Flickr just to say that.
      Unfortunately, it's not correct
      The Windmill was called the Gem.
      www.flickr.com/photos/44435674@N00/6147303396/in/photostream
      Renamed the Windmill in 1946, apparently.

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