I’ve never been to any auction, never mind one to buy a house, never mind one to buy a disused cinema.

The different is, when the hammer falls, that forms a contract to complete. If we bid, we couldn’t then back out. We needed to do more homework.

So we paid for a professional valuation. It came back at £80k. That was what it was judged to be worth, and we’d bid over £20k more! Luckily, we’d withdrawn that offer…

And we paid for a structural surveyor. I met him with Rich at the cinema. This would be the first time we’d ever been inside it.

Phew! It is MASSIVE!! Completely gutted with 15 years of pigeon pooh on the floor. We realised it would cost a LOT more to demolish the back bit. The surveyor rang a demolition guy he knew that did the Odeon cinema, and he gave me his ball park figure. £60k – Jeez!!!

Inside the auditorium from Gwyn ap Harri on Vimeo.

A quick spin round of the kensington cinema auditorium in the dark…

From this info we realised that if we bought it even for £80k, it would cost us more than £140k before we even started to build anything. We decided that we’d still go for it, but our max bid would be £85k

I get to London with work quite a bit, so I planned a couple of meetings to coincide with the auction (oh yeah, it was in Covent Garden, London)

I was absolutely papping it at the auction, but I was determined to stick to the plan. Lot number 35. Guide price of £80k+, now that was more like it. I’d heard about the auctioneer ‘taking bids off the wall’ ie pretending that people were bidding when they weren’t, so when our Lot came up, I stood up and went to the front of the room, so I could see if anyone was actually bidding.

“Would anyone give me £80k? Thank you, 80, 82, 84, 86, 88, 90. Any more for 92?”

What!? I couldn’t see anyone bidding at all, and my ceiling had been truly busted.

“Going once, going twice… sorry, but the sellers want a lot more than that.”

Not sold, but the highest bid was for £90k. I picked my bag up and started out to get my train home.

Hang on, I didn’t see ANYONE bidding.

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