The Washington Cinema was built opposite the
library in 1936 with a classical 'Art Deco'
frontage. It was built on the site of the former Washington
Hotel and its tennis courts
which itself had
been converted from the Penarth Tutorial College
in 1922. The hotel owner
Captain W.H. Bevan
hoped its name would attract American visitors
to the hotel.
The 'Washington' title was
retained when the cinema
designed by local
architect H. Teather
was built on the site
opening in 1938 as the Washington Luxury Cinema.
The cinema was owned by by the Willmore brothers
from London (who also owned the Windsor Kinema)
and was opened on April 4th
Colonel J.H.R Downes-Powell
the then chairman
of the Penarth Urban District Council.
Built to a very high standard
had ceased operating as a cinema by the mid
1970s. Over the ensuing years it was used
variously as a bingo club and night club and in
1990 survived a threat of demolition.
The empty building was damaged by fire in 1994
just as plans were underway to convert it into
retail and office use
plans which were carried
out in 1995. The auditorium was totally gutted
and the balcony removed. A discount store
occupied the main body of the premises under a
suspended ceiling and the front-of-house
building was converted into a cafe
and offices. Most of the features of the
original frontage were
preserved. Google Streetview
The back of the building now houses a Tesco
The Washington Gallery
operated by Penarth Arts
& Crafts Ltd (PACL)
became a focal
point in the town and strove to support and
pro-actively promote Wales-based contemporary
art to all groups in the community through its
constantly changing and stimulating free
admission exhibitions. In 2000 PACL added a
terrace to the Stanwell Road side of the
building; this terrace and a careful management
of interior spaces on the first and second floor
galleries led directly to a Civic Trust Award in
an important recognition for the
Washington Gallery and Keith Munro
However, in February 2012, it was announced by PACL that the Washington Gallery would cease trading at the end of March 2012.
The cost of rent and overheads was said to have been a considerable drain on resources for several years and the board had finally
decided that the gallery was no longer viable.
PACL were then managing the project to restore
the beautiful art-deco pavilion on Penarth Pier and assurances were given that this project would be unaffected.
The Pavilion eventually opened to the public in December 2013. The Washington building is now home to an up-market tea rooms, Washington Tea.
A link to the latest Google Streetview is provided below but please be aware that this may be somewhat out of date.