The staff in 1912, left to centre: Jack Short (Doorman) - Miss Wills (Cashier) - John Barker (Operator) - John H. Barker (age 2) - Alice A Barker (Cashier). Centre to right: Frederick Benton (Manager and Occasional violinist) - Ralph Benton - Mrs Benton (Pianist) - Mr Timms (Engineer) - 'Robbie' Robinson (Pageboy) - Mr Symes (Doorman)
Photo Courtesy: John H Barker (pictured fourth from left as a boy).
Electric Palace Harwich
The creator of the Palace was Charles Thurston, a traveling showman well known in East Anglia.
Electric Palace Harwich
Harold Hooper
Harold Ridley Hooper - Architect of the Palace, he had his first major building commissioned and built when he was only 25 years old. He also designed Butlins Skegness holiday camp (1936) and other designs for Butlins Ltd.
Harold Hooper

The front facade of the Palace.  Note the lady with a big hat and possibly Mr Hooper himself on the right - he was known to be tall for the times.
Reproduced by kind permission of Hoopers, Ipswich.

The complete plans showing the interior as well as the basement engine room -  reproduced by kind permission of Hoopers, Ipswich.
Interior plan showing the original hard bench seats at the front - the toilets were segregated by class, with the posh ones at the back and cheap seat ones at the front. The cheaper bench seats could only be accessed by a side entrance and there was often a scrum to get in, called the Tuppenny rush.
Reproduced by kind permission of Hoopers, Ipswich.
This picture postcard from 1912 shows the hard front seats and a silent screen.

In the 1920s - at the front the fishermen sat and were said to be a bit smelly! So usherettes sprayed disinfectant against aromas and possibly nits;  for romantic films perfume was sprayed.
Cartoon by Marjorie Cornish

Everything on offer, from films to theatre.  As film reels were very short, a turn would entertain people with singing and comedy in the breaks as the projectionist set up the next film.
After the floods in 1953 - the water is still high.  The old house where the manager used to live is still standing to the right.
Photo Eric Hempstead

The Betjeman Society visited the Electric Palace in 2002. Sir John Betjeman was the Patron of the Electric Palace from 1975 until his death in 1984.
Andrew Davies is on the right hand side of the picture.

 
Dressing up in Regency style to celebrate Nelson and The battle of Trafalgar.
In November 2004, Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the historic port town of Harwich. The royal party were escorted around the cinema by Chris Strachan, Chairman of the Harwich Electric Palace Trust, and the Queen showed particular interest in meeting the staff and in seeing many aspects of the restoration.
Before the screening of film 'The Queen', starring Helen Mirren, there was a guest appearance of the four corgi stars of the film and their trainer and owner, Liz.

The sad state of the Electric Palace as it went into decline in the '50s - it closed in 1956 for economic reasons.
Photo: G. Miller

Jaywick local history society tour around Harwich.
Electric Palace Harwich

David Looser with the new digital projectors, in 2011. Digital projection equipment comprising a Christie CP2220 digital projector and a Doremi DCP-2k4 server was installed giving improved picture and sound.

Electric Palace Harwich
The red box office and doors with the old prices. Wow only one shilling! The posh seats used to have separate toilets too!
In May 1990 The Cinema Theatre Association  held their first Annual General Meeting to be held outside London at the Electric Palace in Harwich
Electric Palace Harwich
The side of the Palace showing the winch arm where the old canister reels where taken up to the projection room; luckily today they have digital.
Electric Palace Harwich
The interior as it is today, all warm and cosy.
Electric Palace Harwich
Kenneth Cranham made a guest appearance at the cinema in 2003 when his film 'Two Men Went to War' was screened.
Electric Palace Harwich
Clive Owen
Clive Owen with Electric Palace cinema goers in a Q & A.
Clive Owen
Electric Place Harwich

Terence Davies came to the cinema in 2009 to introduce his documentary on Liverpool 'Of Time and The City', he was also the guest of honour at the Electric Palace in 2007 to introduce another of his films, 'The House of Mirth' - both films were followed by lively Q & A sessions.

Electric Place Harwich
Interior
Interior of the restored cinema. Photo: Dawid Czaja
Interior
Electric Palace Harwich
That's All Folks
Electric Palace Harwich

See more about how The Electric Palace was saved and the restoration here


Picture House Magazine
Picture House No.37
Read Gordon Miller’s extensive survey and historical account of the Electric Palace, written in 1972 to support the application for listing. This is the Cinema Theatre Association’s own magazine and is copiously illustrated. Packed full of useful information!
92 pages and is in A4 format
£10 Including P&P


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