AN historic cinema under renovation has received a £25,000 cash boost, which has taken its restoration campaign past the halfway mark.

The Electric Palace Cinema, in King’s Quay Street, Harwich, has been undergoing a £750,000 restoration project to prevent the building’s ceiling from collapsing.

The second part of the project is to revamp the auditorium.

A total of £500,000 has been pumped into the project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and public donations in the past few years.

But last January work ground to a halt as asbestos was discovered in the roof.

Historic England had to put the cinema on the Heritage at Risk Register and money was obtained to fund the £650,000 asbestos removal.

The cinema’s trustees then launched a fundraising page in December to secure a further £50,000 to complete the project.

More than 7,000 was raised in donations, and now a £25,000 grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation has brought the funding to £33,700.

David Looser, chairman of the trustees at the Electric Palace, said the grant was a very pleasant surprise and has given everyone involved with the restoration a lift.

He said: “The problem with this project is that it has been getting more and more expensive as time has gone by.

“Everything has a price tag.

“But we have got to finish the job and completing it is the only option.” Mr Looser said the scaffolding, which surrounds the building, is coming off next Friday.

“It will make the building look much better and we won’t be annoying the neighbours anymore,” he added.

“Then we will move onto the interior work and decorating.”

Mr Looser said he hopes the palace can be officially re-opened to the public in June and will continue to stand as one of Britain’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinemas.

The historic building has stood as one of Britain’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinemas for more than a century.

Garfield Weston Foundation has been contacted for comment.

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