Kinema In The Woods: Woodhall Spa, England

This week, we were lucky enough to visit the Kinema in the Woods (@thekinema) in Woodhall Spa, England. I’ve got a little post here for you with a few pictures of the the vintage feel cinema and how we found the whole experience.

I’d heard of the Kinema in the Woods while I was living in Lincoln but I never went as it required a car to reach it, and one does not simply live in Lincoln and own a car. I happened across it again whilst scouring Day Out With The Kids and fell in love with the whole idea. Only I forgot that I no longer lived in Lincoln. Instead I live in Spalding, which is a good, one hour drive away (and past lots of RAF bases it seems).

It didn’t take Mike much convincing to go. The words, ‘Captain’ and ‘America’ were used subtly. We booked our tickets online, but in hindsight we should have paid on the door. We arrived early enough and our screening had no more than 20 people present. We would have also saved ourselves the £1 booking fee but at £7 a ticket (inc. booking fee) I can’t complain too much.

We grabbed our tickets and we took a little stroll in the woods while the cinema foyer emptied out after it’s latest showing. It seemed to be Rio 2. There were lots of kids. When we went back I had a wander around all of the old school cinema memorabilia.

The Kinema is made up of two screens. It started it’s life as a sports and entertainment pavilion in the late 19th Century. After a fire broke out in the accompanying hotel, the pavilion was transformed into a cinema which opened with it’s first film (a Charlie Chaplin classic) at 7pm on Monday 11th September 1922.

The roof trusses in the building are too low for an image to be projected from the back of the auditorium, making The Kinema the only full-time cinema in the UK still using rear projection (so much love for media right now). Rear projection is the art of projecting media from behind the screen and on to a mirror to flip the image. That image is what you see, as the audience, on the front of the screen.

It is a shame that our visit was primarily to Kinema Too (Kinema 2, Screen 2) which was added in 1994. However, it was no less awe inspiring despite it’s smaller size (just 92 seats). The walls depict scenes of rural Lincolnshire in trompe l’oeil style painted by Canadian artist Murray Hubick and the auditorium was lit with beautiful, stained glass sconces.

We were able to pop our heads into Kinema 1 just before their showing started and the lights went down. We saw a barn style room with chandeliers and only three rows full of people in a room that could hold 260.

How much more private and unique could a cinema be?

Well, in June 1987, James Green (the new owner) installed a Compton Kinestra organ (sounds fancy, right?) in The Kinema. On Saturday nights, during the film interval, the organ is played by The Kinema’s resident organist, Alan Underwood.

Oh, didn’t I mention? You also get a designated peeing interval! Where else in the UK allows you to exit the film for the loo or an ice cream or a drink and you don’t miss a thing!

I’m going to wrap this up by saying we loved The Kinema and it was totally worth the journey. We felt like we had travelled back in time, not just an hour down the road.

Anyone else been to The Kinema? Has anyone got a unique and interesting cinema near them? Get shouting about it below.

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