Report - - State Cinema- Dartford - Janurary 2015 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - State Cinema- Dartford - Janurary 2015


Explore and love the adventure

The State Cinema was built next door to the Gem Cinema for the independent Medway Cinemas chain, and opened on 23rd December 1935 with Victor McLaglan in "The Informer". The facade was in brick with a central section in terracotta tiles which contained a large window. Inside the auditorium, seating was provided for 1,036 in the stalls and 464 in the circle. The interior was designed in a Neo-Classical style. The 45 feet wide proscenium was flanked by splay-walls which had a continuous grille on each side, edged with stencil designs. The State Theatre was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Ranks organ with illuminated console, that was opened by Percy Milton. The organ chambers were under the stage.

The State Cinema was taken over by the Granada Theatres Ltd. chain on 18th April 1949 and was re-named Granada on 2nd October 1949. The cinema had been built over a stream, and in September 1968, there was serious flooding, which damaged the Compton organ, which was in regular use at that time. It was later repaired (apart from the console) and was sold to Gunton Hall Country Club in Suffolk in 1979 where it remains.

The Granada was closed on 28th June 1975 with Barry Humphries in "Barry McKenzie Holds His Own". It was converted into a Granada Bingo Club from 10th October 1975, and was taken over by Gala Bingo Clubs from May 1991. It was closed in late-2014, and was sold to a church.

1935 Opens as the State cinema
1949 Building is renamed the Granada
1968 Serious flooding damages the Compton organ, and it is later repaired and sold
1975 Becomes the Granada Social Club
1991 Gala Bingo Club takes over the building

Gala Bingo boasts more than 18,000 sq metres of space, was formerly a cinema and has been owned by Gala Bingo since 1991. The building is not listed but it is a conservation area.
A Gala spokeswoman confirmed the building has not been sold but said there is talks on buying the freehold.




So having been told this place was finally closed by a friend who used to work here i thought it was only best to travel down with another explorer and have a look around.

Knowing the old film projectors where still hiding away in the building we had to get in.
On arrival we noticed some of the bingo machines in a pile out the back and instantly we both said it is going to be all stripped and ripped apart.
But once we where inside we was shocked at how much of the original features had been untouched since it was a cinema.
Apart from the screen missing and the down stairs seating the place was a gem!

It is nice to know that Net Church kept all the original features signage, chairs, wall and ceiling decor the list goes on and the circle seating.

I am told that the circle seating is only used for large events and its off limits at all other times as they want to keep the chairs in as good condition as they can.

Anyway on with the photos..

What it looked like with the original Granada signage. Pictured 1975

What the outside looked like as a Gala Bingo.Pictured 2013
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What it looks like now as a Net Church. Pictured 2017




These chandeliers date from 1949 when they where installed when the cinema was taken over by granada.






As you can see from the picture below taken in 2017.
The projection room and the holes have been opened up to display the original projector





The original projector from 1949 when it became granada cinema. The last film to be shown on these projectors was on the 28th June 1975 with Barry Humphries in "Barry McKenzie Holds His Own".

The Projector pictured below restored in 2016 the other one to the left of the top picture is in storage awaiting restoration.

Last but not least a roof picture over looking the old co-op building on the left soon to be converted into a luxury hotel.

Do you really think i would end this report without finding a photo of the compton organ console.
The organ which was in regular use up till it was damaged by flood waters.
The organ was later repaired apart from the console as it was to badly damaged by the flood.


Thanks for looking :thumb
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