The Notting Hill Coronet
A Grade II-listed building, the Coronet was originally built as an opera house in 1898 to a design by WGR Sprague for the theatre impresario Edward George Sanders. Inside, the theatre boasted six gilt boxes upholstered in red plush, seating for 1,100 and a ‘crush bar’ where the foyer is today. Of its initial splendour only the distinctive dome and the ornate auditorium of Screen One, with its huge proscenium arch, curved balcony and red velvet seats, remain. During the 18 years or so before it was converted into a cinema, many stars graced the stage, among them Henry Irving, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillie Langtry and Mrs Patrick Campbell.
Less well known from that time is the theatre’s resident ghost, as described in Richard Jones’s Walking Haunted London (1999):
One Christmas in the early 1900s a cashier was caught stealing from the till and, confronted by the manager, ran up to the Gods and threw herself from the balcony. Thereafter, when staff meetings were held in the upper section of the cinema her ghost caused so much disturbance that such meetings were transferred to offices lower down in the building. Footsteps have often been heard climbing the stairs that lead to the Gods, and on one occasion pots of paint were moved by an unseen hand from a room that was awaiting decoration. Staff have more or less come to accept the inconvenience that their resident spectre causes. The ghost is most active in Christmas week, the anniversary of the cashier’s suicide.
The Coronet has come under threat from other powerful sources, including an ominous bid from McDonalds, but the cinema’s future now seems secure. Since 2004, it has been under the bizarre ownership of the Kensington Temple (p 00), but any fears of it becoming a vehicle for the church appear unfounded. It continues to show popular and occasional arthouse films, with the added attraction of half-price tickets on Tuesdays.
Extract 2: Pembridge Road to Elgin Crescent
Extract 3: Punk Meets Reggae in the Grove
Extract 4: Notting Hill in film
Extract 5: Sample Listings
Find out more about Inside Notting Hill on this site, and buy the guide online from
Notting Hill’s famous Travel Bookshop.