Opening of the Welwyn Theatre
First night reception
By Robert Gill
On the 27th January 1928 the Welwyn Theatre was opened with a presentation of the film Ben Hur. Preceeding the showing was a reception hosted by Sir Theodore Chambers (Chairman of the Board of Welwyn Garden City Ltd ) with a dinner after the show at the Cherry Tree Restaurant.
Sir Theodore Chambers described the opening as a great event in the history of Welwyn Garden City “It is something that is emblematic of all that Welwyn Garden City stands for – progress, initiative, courage and conviction”.
At the time, the population of Welwyn Garden City was around 6,000 and the new theatre had seating for 1,200 – a courageous thing to build.
The theatre was demolished in 1984.
The picture showing some of the opening evening attendees was taken in the foyer of the Theatre. Those in the picture are:
front row starting left:
C B Purdom, Sir Ebenezer Howard, Sir Theodore Chambers, Richard Reiss, Unknown, Mrs Lilian Purdom, Lady Chambers (?).
back row starting left:
Louis de Soissons, Dr L T Gray, Unknown, William Horn, A W Kenyon, Mrs Gray (?), Mrs Reiss (?), F J Osborne.