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SE1's Lost Cinemas

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Wednesday 22 December 2004 12.06pm
Does anyone know of a list of old disappeared cinemas in SE1 (Southwark & Lambeth in general, really)? I'm looking to compile a list of all cinemas, picture houses, etc that were in the area, especially between and during the wars. I do plan to spend some time in the library next week trawling through old Kellys Directories, I just hoped there might already be a neat listing somewhere to get me started painlessly...

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Wednesday 22 December 2004 12.41pm
I think someone is writing a book on this subject.

I saw a poster in Southwark Local Studies Library [which seems to have been rebranded as the Local History Library] appealing for information on Southwark's lost cinemas (and theatres and music halls). I did note down the email address but I am not at my desk so I don't have the details to hand.

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Wednesday 22 December 2004 12.49pm
it was probably Mark! (NOM)
Wednesday 22 December 2004 1.14pm
That wasn't me, but another cunning literary plan just bit the dust :-(

I'm still interested though (many more cunning plans where that came from!). I just read the fascinating overall history on screenonline's web site, which inevitably referred mostly to West End sites - - and it set me thinking (always a bit dangerous).

I had a quick look around BritMovie ( ) but no clues yet. There are a few good and detailed web sites relating to the history of Brighton and Hove cinema for example, so I was hoping to find something similar (or get the info to throw something together online myself). And they had just dozens and dozens down there, so I figure there must be a good list for this busy part of town, especially near the main railway stations (soldiers & travellers needing entertainment, news on way off somewhere distant for example).

My favourite Brighton-related cinema history links:


Edited 1 times. Last edit at 22 December 2004 1.15pm by markandjoan.
Wednesday 22 December 2004 3.42pm
Any idea what happened to all the local pensioners reminiscences of 1940s cinema-going collected as part of the BFI's Screen Dreams in Southwark project ???
Friday 31 December 2004 1.23am
have done research on this subject and also have personal recollections of astoria in old kent rd., happy to help you. lawrence.
Friday 31 December 2004 5.02pm
This is just a an initial list - a first go, after a quick bit of research in the week, but I thought it might whet a few appetites and stir a few memories. A lot more research to do, obviously I would like to add dates, pictures and anecdotes to this very elementary listing (as well as increase the numbers). I feel a few Saturday mornings at the local studies library, BFI and Colindale (BL's newspaper archive) are ahead! Still, it keeps me off the streets... The idea of limiting it to SE1 has been stretched of course, there are some here from SE11, SE17, SE15 and SE16 here, but plenty of time later to get picky...

In no particular order . . .

Electric Theatre, 341 Walworth Road
Elephant Electric Theatre (later to be London Road Cinema), 55 + 56 London Road
St George's Picture Palace, 21 Westminster Bridge Road
Robert Springate, Carter Street, Walworth
Albert George True, 357 Walworth Road
Bermondsey Theatre, Jamaica Road
Blackfriars Grand Central, 54-55 Blackfirars Road
Cohen & Berg, 88 Walworth Road
The Elephant & Castle Picture Theatre, 47 + 49 Walworth Road
Gatti's Picture Palace, 214 + 216 Westminster Bridge Road
Globe Electric Theatre, 59 & 61 Old Kent Road
Grand Cinema Theatre, 202+ 203 Grange Road
George Hucklesby, Carter Street, Walworth
Mascot Electric Theatre, 288 Old Kent Road
Nelson Electric Theatre, 388 Old Kent Road
Newington Electric Theatre Ltd, 134, 136 + 138 Newington Butts, & 2, 4 + 6 Kennington Road
Old Kent Picture Palace, 42,44 Old Kent Road
Palace Theatre, 256 Southwark Park Road
Palasino Electric Theatre, 593-597 Old Kent Road
Purple Picture Palaces Ltd, Arnside Street, Walworth
Solomon Rabski, Trinity Street
Star Cinema, 189 Abbey Street SE1
Astoria (old Kent Road) Ltd, 593-613 Old Kent Road
Super Cinema, Tower Bridge Road
Ideal Cinema, Lambeth Road
Regal, 806 Old Kent Road, SE15
Regal, Kennington Road, SE11
Rialto, 146 St James' Road, SE1
Troc-ette, Tower Bridge Road
News Theatre, Waterloo Railway Station
Trocadero, Old Kent Road

I was thinking of calling it Golden Memories of Silver Screens, but then I started to feel a bit ill. Better titles welcome too!

Cheers - and Happy New Year for six hours time....
Saturday 1 January 2005 3.58pm
If you are quick you might get to see the last chunk of the Regal in Kennington Road before it comes down. When I passed by yesterday there was only a corner left. I don't know what is going up instead - but I assume luxury flats. It usually is.
Saturday 1 January 2005 5.04pm

There are some photos (including the interior) from the recent demolition of the Regal (more recently known as the Gala Bingo Hall) on this page
(there's also a potted history at the bottom of the page):

The Mercia Cinema Society would be another source of general information - they have enthusiasts across the country, not just ancient Mercia!
(Sorry I would have sworn I had posted a link to their homepage earlier on this thread)

Sunday 2 January 2005 3.32pm
That's an amazing list of cinemas compared with what we have today. Quite thought-provoking.
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