A HISTORIC venue, which is one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the UK, has been given a cash boost in a bid to keep it going.

The Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich has received a £151,291 grant from Historic England to repair flooring which is causing serious damp issues.

The venue is one of the 142 historic sites across England to benefit from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund worth £35million.

The crucial funding will be used to support urgent repairs of the cinema’s auditorium floor after damage was caused by a water leak and structural defects.

Due to the major restoration work currently under way, the cinema will remain closed to the public until next year.

The Grade II listed building is one of the oldest surviving purpose-built cinemas and the current repairs are part of a long-term restoration project.

David Looser, chairman of the Harwich Electric Palace Trust, said: “In 2019 the Electric Palace cinema was part-way through a nine-month project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, when asbestos was identified in the roof void.

“This discovery brought work to an abrupt halt and left us with a building in a vulnerable state.

“At this point Historic England came to our rescue. They placed the Electric Palace on the Buildings at Risk Register and quickly approved a grant to clear the asbestos, with additional funding support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“Thanks to this new grant funding support from Historic England, we can now begin the final phase of the project and plan for a full reopening next year.”

The restoration programme will also see the auditorium redecorated and the electrical system replaced.

The trust is also hoping to refurbish the seats and toilets.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs.

“Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect.

“These grants will protect their livelihoods as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”

The Electric Palace opened its doors for the first time to the community on November 29 in 1911, with the first films being The Battle of Trafalgar and The Death of Nelson.

The historic building was built in just 18 weeks at the cost of £1,500.

If you want to donate to the restoration project, visit chuffed.org/project/save-our-cinema.