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Margate Theatre 1940-62

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Margate Theatre was built by Alex Smith in 1940 at 47 Ernest St (corner of Ernest and Albert St) and its first screening was on March 23rd Easter Saturday 1940 with a classic film "Three Smart Girls Grow Up"starring Deanna Durbin. On Monday they screened "Mr Smith Goes To Washington" and "Missing Daughters".

It was a popular venue for movies, ball, and concerts for over 22 years.

We have sourced the original 5 movie posters shown in the 1952 photo shown above.

Aerials and photos from our Pictorial History Book 1824-1949 - available to purchase at the following link:

The Theatre was popular with service personnel stationed at Redcliffe during World War 2 and the theatre was renamed The Renown Theatre as part of a plan to avoid locality names which might assist invading Japanese forces.

Approval for Sunday motion pictures at the Pier and Margate Renown Theatres in April 1943:

Messrs Kallos and Londy bought the Renown theatre from Alex Smith in 1950. At the same time they also bought the Pier Theatre from Ma Beedham. The joint venture was called "Peninsula Theatres"

It was sold on 12th April 1962 and the theatre closed. Ironically the final film was Gone With The Wind starring Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.

Local residents Brian and Valerie Stapleton bought the now disused Renown Theatre in 1969. They converted half of the building into a family entertainment centre. The other half separated by a hessian screen became a dance studio owned by champion dancers Alan and Pat Boulton. Over the next few years, It was also used housing a slot car track, until it was demolished in 1972.

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