Currently the space is used as a lecture theatre but it will be reborn as a state-of-the-art modern cinema.
The University of Westminster is moving forward with plans to restore and reopen the Regent Street Cinema after confirming a £1.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The historic cinema is housed within the University’s Grade II listed building; it hosted the first public cinema performance to a UK paying audience in 1896 showing work by the Lumiere brothers.
Currently the space is used as a lecture theatre but it will be reborn as a state-of-the-art modern cinema (while also evoking its 19th century heritage).
Plans for the restoration were unveield earlier this year. Backers for the project include the Quintin Hogg Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation. With the HLF funding, the group has met two-thirds of its £6.1m target.
Tim Ronalds Architects have designed the scheme for the restored Regent Street Cinema which is planned to reopen in 2014.
Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London, 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. We look forward to seeing the working cinema, lecture theatre and activities spaces open and accessible to all in the future so that everyone can get involved in this fascinating part of our heritage.”
Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster, added: “The University is delighted to be awarded this substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and reopen 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.”