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Iconic Palace Cinema, Haverfordwest, set to re-open in time for Easter

Palace Cinema set to -reopen

Twelve months ago the future of one of Pembrokeshire’s most historic and iconic landmarks – The Palace Cinema in Haverfordwest – looked uncertain as its lease came to an end.

Now, after tumultuous months uncertainty, the cinema is on the verge of being re-opened under the guidance of new tenant Alejandro Whyatt, who is the third generation of his family to run traditional and historic cinemas. 

“This is a very important building for the town which has served the people for a very long time,” Alejandro told The Pembrokeshire Herald. 

“And this is why it’s so important for us to maintain it, and ensure that it continues to play a strong role in town life.” 

Alejandro, who runs three other small, traditional cinemas in the UK including one in North Wales, hopes to begin showing films later this week, when tickets will be available at reduced introductory prices of £4 and £5.

He will then launch into a complete refurbishment project of the Grade II listed building. 

“We want to retain as many of the original architectural features as possible and we’re looking forward to starting work once the Easter holidays are over.,” he said.

The Palace Cinema began life as a Victorian Corn Exchange on Upper Market Street, built around 1847.  

 It opened as a cinema on July 28, 1913, and the first film to hit the screens was  ‘Zuma – Queen of the Gypsies’. 

During its early days, people sat on long benches with sufficient space for up to 1,000 people, and by 1916 its seating capacity had been reduced to 500. 

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The Palace Cinema enjoyed a healthy existence up until 1995 when the balcony was deemed unsafe. As a result, the cinema had to operate on a ‘stalls only’ basis. 

A heavy rainfall in 1996 resulted in the cinema being evacuated as water had got into the electrics, and by the end of that year, plans were put forward to refurbish the building and create a second screen. 

The Palace was subsequently taken over by the operators of the Plaza Cinema, Port Talbot and re-opened in May 1998. 

However the following year the company went into receivership, casting yet again, a shadow over its future. 

It was handed a crucial lifeline in 2003 when it was taken over by the Coliseum Cinema in Brecon who continued to run it until the operators decided to terminate their lease last year. 

For further details on the Palace Cinema, visit the website on haverfordwestcinema.co.uk or, alternatively, their Facebook page.