All Roads Lead To Berkhamsted

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We have been busy and having lots of fun recently sourcing original Art Deco furniture, lamps and all sorts of exciting pieces to go into the six rooms we are refurbishing over the winter.

Art-Deco-LampOn one of our searches we stumbled across a beautiful lamp on Ebay and thought it would look perfect in the soon to be completed Gatsby Room.

Unfortunately the seller was not willing to pack it for sending so we knew that we would have to make the trip to Berkhamsted to collect it and coincidentally we had two different couples staying with us this month who happen to live in Berkhamsted.

Mr & Mrs D, knowing about my interest in Art Deco, told me about The Rex cinema in their town which has been restored to its former Art Deco glory – a quick look online told me that this is no ordinary cinema. For one thing it is sold out every night!

Designed in the art deco style by David Evelyn Nye in 1936, the cinema opened to the public on 9 May 1938 with a screening of Heidi starring Shirley Temple.  After 50 years of service, multiplexes and the rise of home entertainment proved its undoing and in 1988 The Rex closed and eventually became derelict.

The building was under threat of demolition in 1997 when a campaign group, Friends of The Rex was set up with Barry Norman as its Honorary President.

RexFromProjectorAfter many twist and turns The Rex was finally restored and re-opened in December 2004 with a screening of The Third Man (screenplay by Berkhamsted writer Graeme Greene).

Since then, the Rex has enjoyed appearances from a host of stars who support its ethos of revering the Cinema and its patrons.

Mr & Mrs D confirmed that a visit to The Rex is quite the occasion. Patrons dress smartly and enjoy the ambience, including the opportunity to be served drinks at the tables on the ground floor of the auditorium.

1024px-Berkhamsted_rex_gatsby1Part of the building is now a separate restaurant which incorporates the old foyer, called, what else – The Gatsby. We have made a promise to ourselves that when we visit The Rex again that it will include dinner at The Gatsby.

Isn’t it wonderful that this great venue has been saved from demolition and continues to delight cinema and Art Deco lovers alike.
Visit The Rex Website here:

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