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 1938 by Lt. Colonel J.H.R Downes-Powell the then chairman of the Penarth Urban District Council.

Built to a very high standard the Washington 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 art gallery and offices. Most of the features of the original frontage were however preserved.
The back of the building now houses a Tesco Express supermarket.

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 2003 an important recognition for the Washington Gallery and Keith Munro designer.

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.

Google Streetview