Former Herne Bay Main Street Cinema could be scheduled for the show again
A former antique store turned into a cinema on the street wants to relive its glory days by becoming the city’s new performance venue.
A bid has been launched to open a bar and host evening entertainment at Briggsy’s store in Herne Bay, which will continue to operate as an antique retailer throughout the day.
The building was slated to go under the hammer earlier this month for up to £ 525,000, or two-thirds of its original asking price in 2019.
But it was pulled from the auction after a deal was made for the site before the auction could begin.
Its new owners this week unveiled plans to use the High Street space – which was once a photo house – as a store by day and a place of entertainment at night.
Articles submitted to Canterbury City Council state: “The new owner’s plan is to create a multi-use space.
“During the day it will function as an antiques, collectibles and food store with a cafe.
“Some evenings it will become a performance venue using the space of the auditorium for which it was originally built, with a licensed bar for consumption on the premises.”
The last owners of Briggsy have applied for a license with the city council to organize live music shows and entertainment inside the property.
They are also making an offer to sell alcohol on site, with extended opening hours until 10:30 p.m.
Plans call for the shows, which are slated to take place on Friday and Saturday nights, to target a “slightly older” audience.
They read: “The licensed bar is intended to support the activity of the show and will be (used by) those attending the events.
“These will be shows aimed at a slightly older market, over 30 years old, and will end at 10:30 pm.”
The Old Image House was erected in 1899 and hosted the Washington Arcade for the next 12 years.
It opened as a Luxe Cinema on August 7, 1911, but closed within months to undergo a major renovation.
The venue reopened on August 19, 1912 as the Théâtre Bijou, showing films as well as variety shows and concerts on its stage.
It changed its name around 1919 when it became the Coliseum Cinema. In 1926 it came under the new ownership of Archibald Iggulden and the name was changed to Red Lantern Cinema.
In 1936 it was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain – with the Casino Cinema nearby – but running two cinemas in a small seaside town in the middle of winter was not profitable, so the Red Lantern Cinema was closed from September 1937.
It became a clothing factory for many years, then more recently a boutique known as Spender’s Arcade, before becoming Briggsy’s.
The word “images” can still be seen in the masonry of the facade above the entrance.
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