BOURNEMOUTH could next week lay claim to having the smallest cinema in the UK.

The Bournemouth Colosseum will have only 19 seats – including a two-seater Royal box – and will show a programme of classic vintage films.

It will open at Lavish Life art gallery and coffee shop in the Arcade at Westbourne on Monday, September 30, with a showing of Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning 1960 romantic comedy The Apartment.

Paul Whitehouse, owner of Lavish Life, said: “We’re going to concentrate on the older films but we’re showing them with the latest quality reproduction.”

Westbourne has not had a cinema since the nearby Grand became a bingo hall in the 1970s.

Mr Whitehouse said it had been a “long process” to get the tiny cinema off the ground.

“The council have been very supportive and have helped us. We had planning permission to go through and we had to get a premises licence,” he said.

“There was quite a lot of expenditure to deal with fire regulations and health and safety and noise reduction for the neighbours.

“We wanted to do it properly so everyone would come.”

There will be matinees and evening showings most days of the week. Titles already lined up include Casablanca, Brief Encounter, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther, South Pacific, Hobson’s Choice, Midnight Express and Angels With Dirty Faces.

“We asked people that come in the shop what their favourite films were,” said Mr Whitehouse.

“Out of 200-300, there seemed to be around 50 that were mentioned all the time.”

Nearby TV dealership Dawsons AV has sponsored the venture by donating state-of-the-art equipment, including a 3D JVC high definition projector, with 5.1 surround sound through a Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 14 loudspeaker system.

The cinema’s seats came from the Welsh National Assembly.

Visitors will be asked to sign up for membership, costing £9.50 and running to January 2015, and to pay £4.95 per film ticket.

Details are at

Record holders

SEVERAL cinemas have laid claim to being the smallest in the UK.

The Screen Room in Nottingham was recognised by Guinness World Records as being the world’s smallest cinema by seating capacity.

The cinema, which had 21 seats, closed in 2011.

The smallest cinema in Wales, la Charrette, had 23 seats and closed in 2008.

The Blue Walnut in Torquay is a cafe bar with a 23-seat cinema.

The Colosseum is smaller than any of those, although there have been mobile cinemas with as few as eight seats.