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Wednesday 5 January 2005 8.55am
Another useful resource is 'Cinema Treasures' UK pages.

The cinema I remember from my childhood as a boarded up old bingo hall was the Regal in West Norwood (SE27). This site has another person's memories of it, including photos. I remember being amazed when it was demolished in 1981, seeing inside for the first time and looking at all the luxurious red and gilt decorations. There's now a lovely B&Q there. Hey ho.

Luckily here in Wellington, they've proved to be better at keeping hold of old cinemas, including a lovely Art Deco example The Penthouse, and The Embassy - this link shows how it was got up for the showing of the premiere of The Return of the King (Peter Jackson is chair of the cinema's trustees). The oldest surviving cinema in town is The Paramount, which these days is a bit reminiscent of the Ritzy in Brixton, before they did it up!
Monday 17 January 2005 4.09pm
I just came across a reference to The London Bridge Picture Palace and Cinematograph Theatre
which was in Borough High St. Does anyone have any idea where exactly it might have been?

The reference was to a 1910 fine for opening on a Sunday - its owner, Bermondsey Bioscope Co Ltd (of 48 Mark Lane, EC), was charged with Sunday opening. Fined 40/- and 5 Guineas costs. The legal reference is [1911] 1 K.B. 445 if any legal gurus want to check it out (this was the appeal hearing).

By the way the list is now upto 100 former cinemas in Lambeth and Southwark, and the list keeps growing - and if anyone has a pre-war Kinematograph Year Book they would consider lending, I'll be ever so grateful (and mention you in my bestselling book on this topic, that I haven't quite planned out yet, but looks increasingly feasible). Any year book will do, just to put off the inevitable trips to the BFI library some time soon.


Edited 1 times. Last edit at 17 January 2005 4.12pm by markandjoan.
Tuesday 18 January 2005 1.31pm
Would camberwell green going towards kings college hospital count? cinema there was later turned into Dickies Dirts jeans shop a restuarant i think on the corner.first trip to the 'piktures' I ever had...
Tuesday 18 January 2005 1.55pm
Cinema odds and ends:

Erno Goldfinger's original plywood and string model for the 1960s Odeon at the Elephant is now in the V&A's new architecture gallery.

The Odeon (previously Empire, subsequently Dickie Dirt's) at Camberwell was reputedly haunted by the ghost of a lion tamer who was mauled to death in 1907 on the stage of the former music hall on the site. (Or did Dickie D's proprietor just make that one up to sell more jeans???)

Tuesday 18 January 2005 2.05pm
Camberwell certainly counts (I started off aiming for just SE1, but then 'Lambeth and Southwark' seemed to make more sense to me (bigger market for my future bestseller, obviously).

Is the one you mean across the road from Nandos? Maybe Bijou or Golden Domes, see below for what I have in that area so far.

Many of the lesser known ones seem to have opened just before WW1, and lots were already closed by the end of WW1 - clearly an exciting and risky period for your typical cinema entrepreneur... a few made it to last in to the 60s and 70s of course...

Bijou Picture Theatre
37 Denmark Hill, Camberwell

Camberwell Central Cinema
Well Street (I can't locate this road, but it was there once...)

Golden Domes
28-33 Denmark Hill (Became Rex, then Essoldo)

Montpelier Picture and Variety Palace
Empress Street / 18 Montpelier Street

New Grand Hall
Camberwell New Road (that's the huge snooker club)

North Camberwell Cinema
148 Southampton Street (Way?) (became The Cosy, then Southampton Cinema)

Picture Empire
55 Camberwell Road

Medlar St

Any pictures, memories, anecodtes to put some detail in would be welcome... I'm still digging...


Edited 4 times. Last edit at 18 January 2005 2.09pm by markandjoan.
Tuesday 18 January 2005 2.13pm
Lang Rabbie's mesage must have landed just as I sent mine - if he says it was the Empire that's good enough for me ...
Tuesday 18 January 2005 6.51pm
Confusingly, the site of the Odeon Camberwell, demolished in 1994(?) and now a "foyer" housing project for young people with a restaurant underneath, is actually in Lambeth, so it may appear under that lists of that Borough's cinemas - the address is now 3 Coldharbour Lane.

Picture of the Camberwell Odeon

from Odeon Cavalcade photo site - also has pictures of Elephant and Old Kent Road
Tuesday 18 January 2005 7.21pm
thank you for that Lang Rabbie, especially as when I clicked on the Deptford Odeon and the Filmshowing was the Feminin Touch starring...beautiful Belinda Lee and George Baker...I remember going to the colonade in Guys hospital and watching them film....she was so kind ....I gave her my name and address ....she sent signed photos to a scruffy cockney kid....and made George Baker stand still while she signed an autograph for me....
Tuesday 18 January 2005 9.25pm
Absolutely right Lang Rabbie (of course). I have my little list split by district, and the Camberwell Odeon was indeed under the Brixton heading (opened 1939 closed 1975 I believe). Thanks for the links though - all the links provided in this thread are coming in useful one way or another...

I spent a fascinating Saturday morning at Colindale going through The Bioscope for 1911 - it was just non-stop openings and excitement in the Cinematograph trade. And "The World of Mitchell and Kenyon" (lost early films now restored and showing on BBC2 over the next 2 weeks) caught the mood of the time beautifully, the sheer wonder of seeing moving pictures with people you actually recognised, moving stuff in every sense!

Sunday 30 January 2005 11.17pm
I've just come across this thread on the lost cinemas of Southwark and Lambeth. I'm currently heading a research project at Birkbeck College into the film industry in London before 1914. Part of this work involves listing every film-related business in the capital between 1894 and 1914, including cinemas, and putting this into a database. The work's not completed yet, but I've already traced just under 1,000 venues which put on regular film shows, which includes not only cinemas but halls, missions, theatres and even hotels and amusement arcades. I have details of names, addresses, ownership, audience capacity, prices charged, opening hours and so forth. It's a fascinating subject but a huge undertaking, not least because in these early years so many cinemas came and went, or changed name, or simply didn't advertise their presence very well. The best source of information is the Bioscope Annuals from 1910 onwards, which list fairly comprehensively what were the cinemas in the capital. Another good source is the records of the London County Council at the London Metropolitan Archives. I'd be happy to help with any queries - equally, I'd be very interested to hear from anyone with information on pre-1914 London cinemas. Email me off list at, or find out more about the project at

Luke McKernan
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