Works on historic Curzon cinema balcony has begun

An artists impression of how the new balcony at the Curzon cinema will look.

Local artist Tim Stephens impression of how the new balcony at the Curzon cinema will look. - Credit: Supplied

Restoration work on Clevedon's historic Curzon cinema grand balcony has now started. 

After a successful fundraising campaign, the cinema will now begin renovating the dilapidated balcony which has been closed to the public for nearly 50 years.

It was locked away in 1973 after viewing numbers dwindled with the increased popularity of television.

A false ceiling was installed, and as time went by, audiences forgot its unique heritage and splendour, with its rare tin-panelled walls, barrel-vaulted ceiling and full proscenium arch.

The auditorium in the 1920s

The auditorium in the 1920s - Credit: supplied

Restoration works will now be carried out by contractors John West later this month.  

The Curzon cinema is a Grade II listed building and opened in 1912 with a fundraiser for the survivors of the Titanic disaster.

In 1996, the Curzon Community Cinema Ltd, with the help of local support, took over the picture house after it was threatened with closure. 

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The Curzon is now one of the country’s oldest, continually running cinemas.

That fundraising spirit is still yet to falter and now £85,000 has been raised, £60,000 of which from public donations, to help bring the balcony back into use. 

The Curzon balcony already in progress. 

The Curzon balcony already in progress. - Credit: Supplied

In 2020, contractors restored the roof and helped to remove the false ceiling for better air circulation. 

The newly refurbished balcony will combine modern luxury and a large nod to the Curzon’s heritage, with eclectic, upcycled styling.

Curzon CEO Susannah Shaw, said: "It will create a fabulous space from which cinema-goers can sit comfortably in beautiful surroundings, treating themselves to a unique evening or afternoon out.

"The Curzon had fantastic support over the last few years from a handful of individuals who give their time to make vital decisions that keep our cinema open - not least among these has been Hilary Neal, who gave more than 15 years as chair.

A view from the balcony false ceiling.

A view from the balcony false ceiling. - Credit: Curzon Cinema

"With support like this, and from a team of dedicated volunteers and extremely hard-working staff, the Curzon is fortunate indeed. 

"As well as the public, I would like to thank the National Lottery, Reaching Communities; the Medlock Charitable Trust; Ms Janet Briggs for the very generous legacy gift, Junior Poon and other wonderful individuals who have made such generous donations.

"I absolutely can’t wait to get going and see our new balcony open."

It is hoped the balcony will once again see visitors in early Autumn.