The cinema between Chapel Road and Lower Bridge Road was opened in 1912 by G W Grimes and Sons. The building was red brick with bold mouldings and rough cast panels in ivory to create a prominent feature in the High Street.

Two thirds of the 600 seats were of the tip-up type and were upholstered in red velvet. The remainder had cushioned seats and backs of a lower standard. Internally it was designed in the Greek style and the scenery was painted by Fred Karno Co. There was a stage for artists engaged to appear between pictures.

In 1923 the cinema underwent alterations and was given a larger stage and orchestra balcony with lighting in three colours, an improved dressing room for artistes plus cloakrooms. Access to the better seats was from Lower Bridge Road. The entrance opened on to a vestibule and then a balcony and annexe with extra seating plus standing room. There was an emergency exit on to Chapel Road from the balcony.

The Grimes brothers sold the cinema in 1926 and its new owner renamed it the New Pavilion. Another owner later took over ownership of both the Pavilion and the Cinema Royal in Station Road.

The first talkies in the borough were shown at Reigate Hippodrome but at the Pavilion Mr Reynolds took the opportunity in 1929 to install the Movietone and Vitaphone apparatus on which many films were being made. The work cost £4,000 but made the cinema one of only 250 of 4,000 countrywide to show the latest talkies, putting it on a par with London cinemas.

The Pavilion reopened on July 22, 1929, three months after the Hippodrome. Between them they brought the borough to the forefront of cinema entertainment.

During World War Two the film Gone with the Wind was interrupted more than once by messages stating the air raid alarm had sounded and offered people the opportunity to go for shelter. Most of the audience stayed where they were.

The outside ticket office was moved inside around the time the cinema's name was changed to The Rio in the late 1940s or early 50s. Being considerably wider than other cinemas it could hold 570 people, in spite of having no balcony. Nevertheless it became known as the Flea Pit' due to its relative smallness compared with newer cinemas of the day.

A notable feature was the rustling noise made by those who paid 1s 3d for the front seats and moved back to the 1s 9d seats when the lights went down.

The cinema closed for good after a serious fire in October 1952 and stood derelict for some time before it was demolished.

- Article and pictures by Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill volumes 1 and 2, www.redhill-reigate-history.