Green plaque marks where cinema stood

No Caption ABCDE ANL-160308-193017001

No Caption ABCDE ANL-160308-193017001

The plaque on Keeble Court

The plaque was donated by the King’s Lynn Civic Society an installed by Freebridge Housing, who built the housing estate which stands there now.

It tells the story of the site since the cinema was built in 1938 and explains why the new development has its present name – in honour of Keeble Allflat, the cinema’s Lynn-based architect.

Alison Gifford, secretary of the Civic Society, said: “People had so much affection for it. Many couples met there. People can remember going to see films there.

“I was always asked at the Heritage Open Days to open up the cinema, but by they time they started, the cinema was all destroyed inside.

“I think its demolition was no bad thing but its memory would be a good thing.”

She also said that Desmond Waite, president of the civic society, knew Mr Allflat and was keen tribute was paid to him.

The plaque explains that the Pilot stood on the site until 1938, “the ultimate in modern ‘supers’ launched by Ben Culey, a colourful local character, farmer and fishing smack owner”.

It took 14 weeks to build. The cinema took its name from Pilot Street which was partly demolished and truncated by John Kennedy Road built in 1964.

The plaque reads: “Its special design introduced a stadium arrangement for the seating, one great sweep with no balcony, accommodating 797 patrons with some double seats for courting couples. There were dressing rooms and a stage for live shows.

“The Pilot opened 28th November 1938 with the memorable Walt Disney production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a unique occasion because no other cinema in the district had managed to book this famous film.”

It closed in 1961, only to reopen a year later but it finally darkened its projector in March 1983 (last film Gandhi). It became Zoots nightclub before being demolished in 2014.