The first cinema in the borough of Reigate was the Cinema Royal in Station Road, Redhill.

Opened in October 1909 it was led by Reg Thompson. The auditorium measured 60x29ft, the balcony 34x28ft, and the premises were licensed to entertain 700 people.

Nicol's ladies outfitters took advantage of the considerable interest and excitement in the town at the prospect of the first picture being shown by giving away one ticket for each five shillings spent in the shop.

The Cinema Royal came into the ownership of Arthur Reynolds in 1927. He made extensive alterations, creating a much more luxurious cinema. The cinema closed for the work to be carried out in the latter part of 1927 and was due to reopen on Boxing Day, renamed the Picture House.

Due to one of the worst winters on record the reopening date was achieved but not all the work had been done because supplies could not be delivered, so it closed again.

It then suffered the calamity of being flooded to a depth of 2ft when the snow melted and Redhill brook overflowed on the evening of the first week of 1928. Staff ripped up brand new carpets in an effort to save them. The grand reopening was delayed until March 12, 1928.

Two months later the cinema was once again closed, this time following a fire. It reopened shortly after. The cinema continued for almost nine more years, before closing for good.

The reason for the final closure is unknown but competition was fierce. The Central Hall, built in 1934, had started showing films two days each week and building work on a new cinema, the Odeon, was underway.

l Article and picture courtesy of Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill, volumes 1 and 2,