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PRINCESS None Fremantle 


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32 Leake St, Fremantle IN closed


32 Leake St, Fremantle

Photograph of cinema

On the corner of Market St - next to the Terminus Hotel on the corner of Pakenham St, and opposite the Olympia skating rink - an old warehouse was demolished, to make way for West's Princess theatre, opened on 21 December 1912, the first purpose-built hardtop in the suburban area. Seating 1850 persons, the new theatre was managed by T. M. (later Sir Thomas) Coombe till August 1914, when West's opened another cinema at Subiaco and transferred their suburban operations there. Fullers vaudeville then operated the Princess for some time, till in March 1917 Coombe took over the theatre in his own right and brought it with him into the Union Theatres chain. Sound was introduced to the theatre in August 1929, and in 1935 it was taken over by the Grand Theatre Co, which employed William Leighton to design extensive renovations, including reducing the seating to 1540. This had been further reduced to 1200 by the time the theatre closed on 26 June 1969, a victim of the television boom. Peter Thomson describes how the cinema was showing four times a day Monday to Saturday and once on Sunday night before television: then screenings were reduced to twice a day and eventually closed altogether. The building was sold to a car repairer and gutted for use as a workshop, retaining the basic structure, including the balcony, and the entrance into Market St. In 1985 it was used as a market, and in 1989 by an icecream manufacturing company.

Fremantle City Council ratebooks 1910/11 - 1913/14
Max Bell, Perth: a cinema history, The Book Guild, Lewes, 1986 p.41-2
Rodney I. Francis, ´The Coombe family of Perth', Kino no.34, December 1990, pp.12-17
Rodney I.Francis, 'Thomas Melrose Coombe: a pioneer from vaudeville to talkies in Western Australia', Kino no.80, Winter 2002, pp.46-48
Vyonne Geneve, ‘William Leighton, architect’, Kino no.25, September 1988, p.7
Vyonne Geneve, Significant buildings of the 1930s in Western Australia, Vyonne Geneve, June 1994, National Trust of Australia (WA)/ National Estate Grants Programme, vol.1
Daily News, 27 July 1967; 2 July 1969
Everyone's, 4 September 1929, p.32
Film Weekly Directory, 1943/4 - 1968/9
Grand Gazette, nos. 9-11 (3-17 Aug. 1918)
Post Office Directory, 1912 - 1949
West Australian, 10 Mar. 1961, 1912 - 1969
Interviews (Ina Bertrand): Ken Booth (1978), Lou Starr (1985), Arthur Stiles (1985)
Interview (Margaret Howroyd): Peter Thomson (1994)
1 exterior, b&w, 1969 (Roy Mudge) Link to image
10 interior, b&w, 1969 (Roy Mudge) Link to image Link to image Link to image
1 b&w reproduction of cover of programme for gala re-opening 29 March 1941 (Arthur Stiles)
1 publicity stunt, b&w, Everyone's 29 January 1930 p.18
Daily News took photos of Princess when it was opened as markets in 1983
Fremantle Library prints 964 - 967
1 exterior, b&w, Max Bell, Perth: a cinema history, The Book Guild, Lewes, 1986 p.41