For over one hundred years the Coronation Hall has been part of Foxton community life. It was originally a wooden building opened in 1911 and named in honour of King George V's coronation. At that time Foxton was built on the flax industry with over fifty mills in the area, a railway station and a busy port. The Coronation Hall was social hub of the town and hosted meetings, shows, movies, weddings and all the celebrations of life. With the roads to Palmerston North still being sealed the Coronation Hall was the centre of Foxton’s social scene.
In 1926 the unthinkable happened and a fire destroyed the wooden Hall. But Foxton doesn’t give up easily and today’s building was planned, funded and built on the site within six months! With the movies being a popular past time the new hall was equipped with comfortable seats and a giant film screen. There was no Coronation in 1926, but the new building eventually became known by the old name.
The Hall was a 'picture palace'- a cinema with an ornate interior and a single, large screen. New Zealand's first purpose built cinema opened in 1910 in Wellington and they were soon found in almost every town, with travelling theatres servicing the smaller communities. These picture shows were more than just entertainment- in the years before television, cinema newsreels were the main way of seeing what was happening locally and around the world.