Philadelphia member Howard Haas vacationed in England in late October & contributed this essay. All photos are his except ones credited to his friend & fellow THS member Ken Roe. More theaters were seen, but the highlights are covered here.
The main ex-balcony screen of the neoclassic CINEWORLD HAYMARKET, opened at Piccadilly Circus as a Paramount showcase in 1927, I saw on my 1st day on vacation the American hit man movie “Killing Them Softly” (not yet released in the US) and on my last day of vacation, a special, sold out Halloween evening screening of “The Shining” (1980) with 24 minutes that had been edited out of the European version and never before shown in Europe. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1838/photos/60658
I saw “Looper” in the 1911 Edwardian main auditorium of the RITZY PICTUREHOUSE in the Victoria area. Facade lit at night, with modern entry that also houses additional auditoriums at right: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/5938/photos/60661
Opened in 1898 with neoclassic decor, the CORONET in NOTTING HILL is where I saw another US movie not yet released in the States, “On the Road” which was the only film in England that I saw in 35mm rather than 2k or 4k.
I enjoyed 2 restored silent films with live new scores during the 56th BFI London Film Festival: Hitchcock’s “The Manxman” (1929) which sold out at the main screen of the historic EMPIRE Theatre in Leicester Square and “The Spanish Dancer” (1923) at the National Film Theatre (NFI). And, I enjoyed the awesome James Bond movie “Skyfall” in the ODEON at Leicester Square, which incredibly was selling out its huge 1700 seat auditorium all weekend though the film had opened “wide”
For the 5th year in a row, fellow THS member Ken Roe, of London, was kind enough to guide me around historic London theaters, this year for 2 days.
Downtown at Leicester Square, the landmark HIPPODROME Theatre, built in 1900 as a circus and which later hosted other shows & films, this summer reopened, restored, as a very elegant casino. Much work was done to reveal original features, long covered up, of the auditorium. Facing stage http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/30502/photos/6065
The Minstrels Gallery is seen at the top. Circus performers lowered from it.
Ken’s photo of the restored exterior:
Also downtown, a new retail tenant at the ex-NEW GALLERY cinema, Burberry, did a sympathetic remodel. A huge screen on the main floor (in front of the proscenium arch) shows silent movie clips & ads! http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/2580/photos/60655
Unfortunately, the Wurlitzer organ console is locked away in a closet on the main floor.
In London’s northern suburb of TOTTENHAM, the exteriors of 3 theaters were seen. The BRUCE GROVE CINEMA, from 1921, is vacant. The PEOPLE’S PALACE, built for music acts in 1885 and later a cinema until 1923, and a factory until 1999, is now a church. Another theater called the PALACE built in 1908, for variety and later a cinema, is also now a church and has a beautiful facade:http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/15231/photos/60652
In London’s far Northeast, Ken & I had lunch in the Weatherspoons pub that nicely reuses the PONDER’S END PICTURE PALACE, built 1913. The photo faces the proscenium arch. Seated at the table, facing the camera is Ken Roe:
In Northeast London, we were lucky enough to be given access to the CORONATION CINEMA at MANOR PARK, which in its current size dates to 1921. Its current owner has lovingly been restoring its Baroque interior as a banquet hall. Facing stage http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/21049/photos/60649
Facing balcony: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/21049/photos/60650
Also, in Northeast London, in EAST HAM, the GRANADA, a movie palace built in 1936 with more than 2000 seats is now a bingo hall. Ken’s photos:
Opened in 1938 with more than 2000 seats but with modernistic design, East Ham’s ODEON was rescued by a movie operator and is now the BOLEYN CINEMA, a triplex showing Bollywood films. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/14651/photos/60651
In East London, at STRATFORD, I saw the Olympic Stadium exterior. Hailed for its modern 1997 design, Stratford’s PICTURE HOUSE
survives as a 4 screener though a VUE megaplex has been built in the new Westfield Shopping Center, Europe’s largest mall. The THEATRE ROYAL from 1884 survives as a fringe theater. The REX from 1896 and redesigned by George Coles in 1934 recently became a mixed use nightclub. Ken’s photo:
In London’s MILE END, the PEOPLE’S PALACE, designed 1937 in iconic Art Deco style by George Coles, is used by a local college. Ken’s photos:
Built in more streamlined Art Moderne style in 1939, the GENESIS now has 5 screens. Ken’s photos http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/13867/photos/59566
From London, I went by train to Colchester, England to visit the Castle built by the Normans and took a tour of the foundations under the castle, as they were the foundations for the Roman Temple originally onsite!
Closed as an Odeon in 2002, the last historic cinema in Colchester that showed movies had been built in 1931 as an atmospheric movie palace, the REGAL. Sadly its faded romantic looking exterior sports a poster advertising its square footage.
Built in 1905, the Edwardian plasterwork reportedly survives in the HIPPODROME, now a disc http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/6294/photos/60078
Opened in 1929, the PLAYHOUSE Theatre became the ABC cinema the next year and is a Weatherspoons pub, with fake people in its closed off balcony (the balcony was too dark for a good photo http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/39628/photos/60075.
Opened in 1844, the CORN EXCHANGE looks like the bank it now is:
The new ODEON 8 screener was opened in 2002 with an entry from a historic building
Two days were enjoyed in the town of Stamford, England’s 1st “conservation area” with 600 listed buildings of pale gold limestone, located in Lincolnshire county in the middle of England, so I could enjoy nearby Burghley House, one of the nation’s greatest estates.
Opened in Stamford as a Georgian playhouse in 1768, I saw Hitchcock’s “The Lodger” (1927) with a new score added to the film, though oddly with 3 vocal songs included, at the Stamford ARTS CENTRE.
The building to the left is the lobby, the building to the right is the auditorium:
An interesting Art Deco cinema exterior is featured by the CENTRAL, designed in1938 by famed architect George Coles and which houses a nightclub
Built in 1858, the CORN EXCHANGE Theatre still houses a theater among other functions
Built in 1876 as a double decker & later showing films in both auditoriums, the ODD FELLOWS HALL is now residences.
Almost three days were spent in Lincoln, England to see its magnificent Cathedral, its Norman Castle (which has a Victorian prison chapel with cubicles so inmates could not see each other, though the solitude drove them insane) and gates that ranged from Roman to medieval. And, I visited Gainsborough Old Hall, one of England’s best preserved medieval manor houses and where Henry VIII’s young wife Catherine Howard had her affair with young Thomas Culpeper (both were executed).
Opened in 1937 as a 1,750 seat cinema, the ground floor of the RITZ is now a Weatherspoons but the pub doesn’t look like a former theater. Locals hope to reopen for films the balcony, walled off from the pub.
The RADION Cinema opened in 1939 and now serves entertainment as the home to BBC Lincolnshire!
Opened in 1893, the THEATRE ROYAL has a newer facade and discontinued films but still is a theater.
Opened in 1879 as the CORN EXCHANGE, and later showing films, a popular McDonalds is now in the front of this Victorian landmark:
Movies are now seen in Lincoln at the 9 screen ODEON built in 2001 at the redeveloped wharf which has more swans in the river than I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo.
[Submitted by member H. Haas, unedited by THS]