There are two new Picturehouse cinemas set to open their doors in the next few months in the southeast – one in an historic building, the other a brand new piece of architecture. Firstly, it will be a trip back in time at the Bromley Picturehouse, which is set to open in spring 2019. The original building dates from 1936 and will have several original features to greet cinemagoers.
“When you walk through the front doors, you’ll be welcomed with a wonderful blend of classic art-deco design with modern Picturehouse touches,” says Joint Managing Director, Clare Binns. “The reason we often choose to move into unique, historical (and challenging) sites is because of the naturally inviting atmosphere and character that’s in the fabric of these buildings. Bromley is set to be one of our most beautiful and romantic projects yet – it’ll be a true cathedral of cinema.”
The cinema, originally designed by architect George Coles, used to have one screen with an enormous 1,492 seating capacity, including stalls and a circle. “Well, it’s safe to say that the circle has been long removed,” says Binns. “The cinema’s screens have definitely changed in size and shape over the years as technology has developed and audience habits have shifted. Bromley will have six screens; its largest will seat 295, and our screen two is also sizeable, with more than 200 seats. We’ve been careful to retain all the features that still exist. We’re also really happy with our plans for the wonderful curved façade, which Picturehouse will respectfully enhance with our new design. Our primary focus with this refurbishment is to pay testament to the beautiful building that we’re fortunate enough to be in.”
Bromley is set to be one of our most beautiful and romantic projects – it’ll be a cathedral of cinema
And the building will hark back to the 1930s in more than just its design. “Back then, a trip to the movies was as much about watching a film as it was about communities and families gathering in the foyer and café for
a pre-film get-together,” says Binns. “We’ll be all about families at Bromley Picturehouse, and will have a wonderful café and bar, where you’ll want to while away the hours eating and drinking – making for not just a fantastic new cinema, but a brilliant new venue for the local community.”
Less than 50 miles away in Kent, construction is under way on a new development due to open in December. The Ashford Picturehouse will be housed in Elwick Place, a complex consisting of a hotel, public events space and restaurants, located in the heart of the town centre. “This is an entirely new build from the ground up. Unlike most other Picturehouses that see us create amazing cinemas out of existing buildings, we’ve had an opportunity in Ashford to build from new and make a real statement. New builds are always challenging but so far, at least from my point of view, it’s been fairly plain sailing,” says General Manager Ben Hammond. “Alongside a six-screen cinema, we are going to offer an incredible bar, café, restaurant and terrace with great views of the town and park, plenty of space to relax and socialise, as well as an amazing community space. It’ll be a unique cinema experience; there’s nothing else like this locally. Our bar will stock a wide range of drinks, and our café/restaurant will have some really delicious food and snacks that you’ll be able to enjoy in the café, restaurant and the auditoriums.”