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Regent St. Cinemea


Built in 1848 as part of the Polytechnic Institution on Regent Street, the cinema became the first place where moving images were screened in this country when, in 1896, a paying audience watched footage shot by the Lumiere Brothers. It thus became known as ‘the birthplace of British cinema’. Part of the University of Westminster, the cinema closed to the public in 1980 and was then used as a lecture hall.


The University of Westminster has close links with the world of cinematography and film production. Their aim was to restore the venue, creating a state-of-the-art auditorium where film students and professionals alike could showcase their work. This required a budget of £6m, raised from both public and private sources. The challenge was to reinstate the original Art deco features -such as the gold leaf and plasterwork - whilst installing entirely new equipment and enhancements to help create a modern viewing experience.


Overbury were the main contractor working with Tim Ronalds Architects. H&S experience on the award winning restoration of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane resulted in us being appointed to handle all the specialist finishes and refurbishments to walls, soffits and mouldings, plus a total redecoration of all other areas once the renovation work was complete.

We worked to a colour visualisation brief from the architect’s specialist, developing and testing samples in situ. Using a combination of specialist paint finishes and metallic paints, applied using natural sea sponges, we were able to meet the requirements of the brief and match the appearance of surrounding newer areas, such as the soundproofing panels.


The works were successfully conducted in stages to suit the installation of new features, soundproofing and enhancement coatings. This enabled us to complete the restorative works on the original features whilst allowing them to blend in with entirely new elements as far as possible.

Our client said:

“H&S again produced a finish of the highest standard to a demanding brief ”

Mark Sheridan    Overbury

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