New era dawns for Newmarket's Doric
More than 80 years after it first opened as a cinema, a new era will officially begin for the Doric in Newmarket High Street on Thursday.
The building, which during its long history was also De Niro’s nightclub, has been converted into luxury flats.
Now the Grosvenor apartments, the iconic High Street building’s new reincarnation will be unveiled 81 years to the day that it first opened its doors as a picture house with a showing of Good Morning Boys featuring Will Hay.
A cinema for nearly 30 years, it closed in 1964 and stood empty for 15 years until it re-opened in 1979 as the Newmarket Cabaret Club.
It was to continue as an entertainment venue, most famously as De Niro’s nightclub, the largest of its kind in East Anglia, right up until 2014 when then owner, Terry Lake, put it on the market for £2.1 million.
It was bought by local agent Clarke Philips, under the directorship of Phil Parsons, for developer The Murfet Group, which announced its intention to turn the building into apartments and office space.
In 2015 there was a concerted residents’ campaign to retain the former cinema as a community entertainment venue, initially backed by the town council, but a community ‘right to bid’ attempt floundered through lack of capital.
Plans for the flats were agreed by local planners and on Thursday, after an official opening by Newmarket’s deputy mayor, Cllr Chris O’Neill, invited guests will be able to view the mix of 36 one and two-bedroom luxury apartments.
The conversion has retained the buildings’s much-loved frontage including the Doric columns from which the building is believed to have got its name.
“We have tried to keep history alive,” said Sheena Parsons. office manager for Clarke Philips.