A brief history
There are a few early photographs of this building – this view from the beach from around 1900 shows it surrounded by trees, with windows on two storeys.
York Gate Hall
By 1911 it was known as York Gate Hall: Sir Guy Laking (eminent armour expert, and son of the physician to King Edward VII), holidayed next door at York Gate House, and adapted the hall to display his armour collection. He died soon afterwards and the building was sold to Broadstairs Town Council, which for many years used it as storage for beach equipment. In the 1950s and early 60s the Council let it for indoor family entertainment, first for puppet shows and later for cartoons shown on a 16mm film projector.
The Windsor Cinema
In 1965, following the closure of other cinemas in the town, local cinema entrepreneur Jack Field converted the building into the 155-seat Windsor Cinema, with box office, projection box and screen. In 1974 it was Grade II listed.
In 1986 and again in 2006, it changed hands, each time refurbished and kept up-to-date with the latest cinema technology. The film programme has always offered something for locals and visitors, including weekly film screenings selected by Thanet Film Society. In 2006, by then with 111 seats, it became the Palace Cinema. New owners Colin Jay and Sean Mills fitted it out with the highest quality digital projection, surround sound and large screen. For a few years it was also home to an illuminated cinema organ.
The Palace Cinema changed hands most recently in March 2016. New owners, Corinna Downing and Simon Ward, are researching more about its history. If you came here to watch films in the 1950s to 1970s and can tell us anything about how it was, we’d be glad to hear from you! Please email us or drop by when we’re open. Thank you.