Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre ‘not sold’ says Thanet council

Granville Cinema by Mel Chennell

Thanet council has assured residents that rumours of the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate being sold with plans to demolish the building are incorrect.

Fears were raised on social media this week that the cinema and theatre site in Victoria Parade was due to be knocked down to make way for a new cafe. The building is owned by Thanet council.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The Granville Theatre has not been sold. There are no plans to demolish the theatre.”

The Granville is the town’s only multi-purpose entertainment venue. It takes its name from The Granville Hotel. The building was leased from Thanet District Council by Granville Theatre Ltd, made up of local shareholders who invested money to keep the venue going.

The group of more than 30 members, who raised some £135,000, was founded by residents including Ralph Hoult -who leads Starlite Entertainers – and Philip Shaw who was also the general manager.

The theatre’s patron is actress Brenda Blethyn. The building was listed as an asset of community value in 2019.

But  it is understood the lease expired last year and was handed back to Thanet council. Ralph said: “The lease ran out and Phillip Shaw handed the keys back to TDC last year, around the end of November.”
Ralph says funding had run out and an inability to open the venue due to the covid restrictions left the team with no choice but to relinquish the site.

The theatre was declared open by the Mayor of Ramsgate Alderman Austin in June 1947.

It is not yet clear whether the lease will put out to offer again although it is understood there have been local expressions of interest.


  1. Not yet. If it is like any of their other assets they will let it go to total rack and ruin first before trying to get rid of it,

  2. What do you think they should do with it? Was it well-used , were lots of people going to the pictures there?

    • Unfortunately I can’t see it ever making money (or breaking even) as cinema or entertainment centre of any sort. When Vue slashed their prices of entry that was the hammer blow to the Granville. Last time I went to the cinema there it was a strange experience. Smelt damp and musty and seat layout meant you could get your view of the screen blocked quite easily.

      I wish the owners all the best but would say a total change of use should be thrown in the mix as well.

      • They have a lot of, sometimes excellent, amateur dramatic productions there. Margate has The Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal (as well as the over-funded Turner), so, unless the old Ramsgate Pavilion is restored, it is very important that Ramsgate retains this venue, and receives any needed funding.

        • I understand what you are saying Peter but how long should the local Council (and therefore local taxpayers) support something financially which simply cannot stand on its own two feet? It isn’t sustainable.

          Perhaps the ticket prices should increase so those who want to keep it open pay more and those who don’t ever use the facility don’t have their taxes used for something they don’t benefit from.

          • How much as the Turner received, £17 million odd? Surely some of these funds can be distributed elsewhere in Thanet, even if (shock! horror!) people have to pay to get in the TC.

      • It certainly did smell damp! But I haven’t been there for a few years so perhaps that’s been seen to.

  3. Not sold or mentioned on tdc current asset disposal list, well not yet.
    Maybe its financially beneficial to dispose of the property.

    Still for sale is Ramsgate marina esplanade carpark, current home to some of the travelling community. Whilst fishing had a chat with a few of them and they say there here for the summer !

  4. Genuine question. Is Thanet big enough in terms of geography and population to be able to support three theatres / entertainment centres; Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal and Granville Theatre? The fact that all of them have struggled (even pre Covid) would suggest there isn’t the customer base to support all three.

    That’s not to mention Vue and the Carlton who are in competition with the Granville for the cinema business.

    • If true, then perhaps The Theatre Royal should be sold off (indeed, it has been everything from a furniture store to a bingo hall in the past). Hardly fair that Margate gets everything.

      • As for the excellent Carlton, that’s the only place I ever go to see films. Between this and the Vue, it is little wonder that there were no buyers for the refurbished (and apparently now decaying again) old Dreamland cinema.

        • I used to go to the Carlton until the Vue matched their prices (with much easier and free parking) and the Carlton started their completely OTT policy of stopping people coming in with their own sweets and drinks. When I was in the queue once and they asked people in front what was in their pockets I just considered they had completely lost the plot so now carry my own stuff into the Vue who are more than happy for you to do it and the seating layout is far superior.

          • Until last month I lived in Westgate just around the corner from The Carlton (I’m now in Birchington), so it was convenient, and I don’t drive. I’ve also always managed to sneak in a box of Maltesers or similar! ; )

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