The Regent building in Deal is a controversial place that has a dedicated political campaign behind it.
But what is its history?
A local group called “Save the Regent” was started to put pressure on the current owners to reopen the building as a cinema.
High-profile actors such as Bridge of Spies and Don’t Look Up star Mark Rylance support the campaign.
He said: “There are few rituals as old as hearing a story together.
“As technology increasingly isolates us and we see and hear stories at home, alone or only with family, cinemas and theatres have become much more important social meeting places.
“They provide a centre, a heart to a community.
“They are the antidote to the dreadful plight of loneliness which is far more widespread than one imagines.
“Save the Regent Cinema!”
But even before the building was opened, it attracted controversy.
When it was originally planned to open, the people of Deal thought it was a reckless expenditure.
Before the Art Deco facade was added, the Regent was once a grand ironwork and glass Pavilion.
It was built to house regular performances by military bands for Edwardian holidaymakers.
The Pavilion Theatre was originally opened in 1928 on the seafront.
Opening the building, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports William Lygon said: “It is the duty of everyone to make this enterprise go.”
But it didn’t “go” according to plan and the building ran at a substantial loss for years.
Because it had taken so long to build the Pavilion due to delays, the interest in variety entertainment, dances and concerts had waned.
The owners couldn’t break even and the public became more interested in the modern entertainment of cinema.
Businessmen Harry Carey and Henry ‘Jack’ Boyer approached the council in 1933 and asked to rent the building to make it into a “super cinema”.
At the time it was felt that losing such a prominent concert venue and the bandstand that had to be demolished to build it was a death blow to the town.
But the plan went ahead and margate architect Percy Levett was commissioned to renovate it, giving it the art deco dome feature.
The Regent cinema opened in July 1933, playing King of the Ritz.
It held 911 people and had modern projection and sound equipment.
The staff wore green uniforms but the building was drafty, especially being on the coast.
King Kong was shown in cinemas in 1933 and repeated during the war.
It was one of the main attractions during the Second World War.
In the mid-1940s, the company ASER took over running the cinema, continuing to show films until 1963.
Despite showing X-rated films for the time, the cinema couldn’t survive.
It became a bingo hall having had a brief spell as a wrestling venue just before being closed.
The bingo lasted until 2009 when the building closed.
Yet the controversy remains as campaigners highlight the fact the building is falling into disrepair and allegedly neglected.
Article Source: Kent Live