© Mr Derek Evans LRPS
CURZON CINEMA, OLD CHURCH ROAD (south side)
CLEVEDON, NORTH SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Mr Derek Evans LRPS
08 August 1999
21 November 1996
Date of last amendment:
21 November 1996
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ST 4071 CLEVEDON OLD CHURCH ROAD
Cine-variety theatre. 1920-22 for Victor Cox, perhaps incorporating earlier fabric. Red brick with stone dressings to facade, the auditorium lined with pressed metal, probably tin. Large pantiled roof, witl1 single stack. Rectangular plan, with auditorium on two levels set behind parade of seven shops and first floor cafe. Cafe and cinema originally reached from entrances at either end of the main facade, the former now converted to shops. Main facade a near symmetrical composition, with a five bay centrepiece between end pavilions, that to the left serving the 'OAK ROOM CAFE', for which sign age survives, that to the right housing the entrance to the cinema and treated more elaborately. Both end pavilions under simple gables with coping, and deep cornice, with tymapani set under giant voussoirs, the typanum to the cinema entrance infilled with moulded sunburst pattern in artificial stone. Between them five bays with original casement windows under pierced and decorated stone frieze, separated by Ionic pilasters. Rusticated pilasters to ground floor, with shops inset between them. The original entrance to the cafe now blocked by two further shops, that to the cinema divided between two glazed double doors to cinema, and small shop. The shop fronts not of special interest. The side elevations with two rows of blind arcading, the upper rows stepped in line with the gables. INTERIOR. Foyer has bronzed metal staircase with moulded decoration and timber balustrade leading to upper part of cinema. There are two spaces of particular interest. T o the front, on the first floor is the Oak Room Cafe, panelled to picture rail height with pilasters. Above this the ceiling treated as a composition in black and white, with beams running across between the pilasters; the effect was once typical of inter-war cafe interiors and has Viennese origins. The original entrance door blocked. The double height auditorium, with a balcony on three sides, is most impressive. It demonstrates the interest in side slips briefly popular in the early 1920s. The walls, ceiling and proscenium arch are entirely lined in painted press metal decorative sheets, perhaps of tin, and certainly ofa rare manufacturers system such as skelionite. This is the earliest and most complete example of such a system known to survive in England. The auditorium subdivided by a false ceiling in 1996, but the decoration intact apart from the balcony fronts, now gone. Trabeated barrel-vaulted ceiling made up of metal panels, with arches similarly decorated and central rosettes. The walls with scaled decoration, panels and dado between square pilasters, all made of the same material. The original proscenium survives, a square frame decorated with pilasters and acanthus decoration, all in metal, under gable and rosette. The stage retains its fly floor and hemps, and there are dressing rooms to the sides. Included as a remarkable surviving example of pressed metal decoration. The use of pressed metal or tin was suited to cinema construction because it was inflammable at a time when nitrate film posed a serious fire risk to such buildings. It is the earliest and most complete example known to survive.