The Notting Hill Coronet is a cinema, which was originally built as a theatre. It was designed by leading architect W. G. R. Sprague at a cost of £25,000 and opened in 1898. Famous actors who appeared at the theatre in its early days included Ellen Terry and Sarah Bernhardt.
Coronet quickly began screening films and its role as a theatre gradually diminished. It suffered from being outside the traditional London theatrical district of the West End. After a quarter of a century, the performances were withdrawn for good.
In 1916, films were shown at the theatre for the first time, as part of variety programmes mixing live and filmed performance. Seven years later, Coronet became a cinema full time, and capacity was reduced from 1,143 to 1,010 seats, but it retained, as it still does, its original theatre interior, consisting of stalls and two upper tiers (a dress circle and a gallery). However, the boxes at each side of the auditorium, next to the stage, were removed in 1931. The stage has been blocked off, and the cinema screen is placed within the proscenium arch. The projection equipment is housed in the former dress circle bar. In the same year, the cinema became part of Gaumont British Cinemas. After almost two decades, it was renamed the Gaumont and the upper tier was closed for seating, and capacity was therefore reduced to 196 in the dress circle and 319 in the stalls, a total of 515.
In 1972, the Rank Organisation (which had taken over Gaumont) proposed to demolish the building but a local campaign based upon its architectural merit and its interesting history secured its survival and, indeed, refurbishment. Five years after that, it was sold by the Rank Organisation to an independent cinema operator, and its name reverted to the original Coronet. The new owners replaced the seating in the stalls so as to provide more legroom, reducing total cinema capacity to 399 seats.
In the late 1980s, the building was again under threat, but it was protected by a Grade II listing on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest and the threat passed. In 1996, a second screen with seating for 151 was opened in the stage area. In 2004, the cinema was acquired by its present owners, Kensington Temple, a large local Pentecostal church congregation. However, it continues to offer mainstream independent cinema programming, without any censorship or Christian slant.