The University of Westminster is to restore and reopen the Regent Street Cinema – which hosted the first public cinema performance in the UK – after receiving £1.5 million in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Located within the University’s Grade II listed building and currently the space is used as a lecture theatre, the cinema screened a series of films by cinema’s founders the Lumiere brothers to a paying audience in 1896.
With the lottery funding in place, the cinema is now two-thirds towards its target of £6.1 million. Tim Ronalds Architects have designed the restored “state of the art: cinema which is planned to reopen in 2014.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London Sue Bowers said: “This cinema has an important place in the world history of film. Now, with this HLF grant, the University of Westminster can share this special story not only with film students and academics, but with the wider public too.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster Professor Geoffrey Petts said: “The Regent Street Cinema which will offer a place for our students and staff, filmmakers and public audiences to enjoy and learn about film. We are well on our way to meeting our target for getting the restoration underway thanks to the fantastic public and private funding contributions we have received so far.
“We are going all out to close the gap on the final leg of financing that we need, however we do not underestimate the challenges of finding that elusive final tranche of funding in today’s tough climate for ambitious projects.”