Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments
Some recent information on plans for this site.
Incredible pictures Adam, Its amazing how much has survived the conversion to Tesco. Are they still planning to demolish it in the near future?
This link gives an update from Empire, how accurate it is I don’t know but hope they are committed to completing this project and one of my favourite cinemas wasn’t lost in vain.
Back in 1932 no one could have imagined it would one day change hands for £32 Million
Some promising interest shown from Sir Cameron Mackintosh into making this cinema into a Theatre.
Hi Ian, in 1998 the whole site including flats and shops were sold off by Chesterfield Properties, owners of the Curzon chain to a property company. The Phoenix Theatre as part of this sale was then leased to Ambassador Theatre Group. As a result an independent cinema was not viable on such a prime site and being no longer controlled by Curzon closed at once.
English films did return briefly in the late 1970’s for Saturday morning children’s performances.Also Mrs Ghandi the indian prime minister on a visit to Southall gave a press conference here around the same time as did her predecessor.
Ken; As a former assistant manager of this cinema I submitted the page and added a few comments on it from me to which another member replied. All were relevent to the cinema. No idea whats happened. Lost some of mine on a previous site as well.
I will re submit them sometime.Thanks for getting back to me.
Any idea why comments are being removed from this page.
The plans as I understand them from the Ealing Borough web site will involve the preservation of the tower and facade (Part of a conservation area) while the Auditorium block will be demolished and the new store built on an extended site behind. Either way it is sad to see this cinema finally going particularly as there may be parts of the Theodore Komisarjevsky scheme remaining hidden from view.
It would be good if it could be preserved whole. I no longer live in the area but i’m sure there must be some people locally who would like it saved as a whole.
Thanks Ken for responding,it was the second time that all this theatres comments had been wiped, hopefully the problem won’t repeat itself.
Just curious why do comments keep getting deleted from this cinemas page.Including this one I expect.
In case this has been missed elsewhere the link below is to an excellent English Heritage site that has most of John Maltby’s Odeon circuit pictures including some showing the demolition of the Alhambra and construction of the Odeon Leicester Square.Just enter Odeon in search box and spend a happy hour or two viewing as I did.
Brief Encounter is brilliantly staged in the former screen one. The set and mix of film and live action are extremely clever. The film is recreated with added classic Noel Coward songs performed by the cast coupled with a live jazz band that serenades the audience before the show. This production should not be missed. It would be good if more theatre could be done in this space, in the meantime lets hope this show gets a further extension.
Thanks Ken for clarifying the distributer details. Also I now suddenly recall that we left the cinema in bright daylight so it must indeed have been a trade or press showing as you suggested.
Hi Ian, I recall the musical at Her Majestys in 1984 but it was the film I saw, I still have the soundtrack album and book somewhere. It may not have been the actual premiere but some sort of special advance screening for trade clients. My father worked as a senior manager for Granada Motorway Services at the time. I really recall the foyer and staircase from the upper circle as much the same as it is at todays Cinema Haymarket. The reason it was shown here (if only once) may be that the film was a 20th Century Fox release and I think they still ran the Carlton at this time?
If my memory serves me correct I saw the premiere of the movie Bugsy Malone her in 1976 sitting in the upper circle. I Recall the then undivided auditorium being fairly ornate and also recollect the two stage boxes were still being used.After the screening all the kids and maybe adults were handed a free record and paperback book in the foyer as they left. It would be nice one day though probably not cost effective if someone could buy the office building at the back and rebuild the stage.If the planners hadn’t been so hasty in 1979 this could have been a much valued Westend Theatre. Still great that some sort of live entertainment is back.
The upstairs screen was seen in a Derren Brown show on Channel 4 a while back. A group of public and showbiz people were taken blindfolded to a mystery location for a show by Derren that was televised. Eagle eyed cinema buffs should have spotted the location at once.
My stepfather who frequently attended this cinema remembers that the screen viewed from the stalls was far too high and made viewing a film uncomfortable.The favoured cimemas in Southall were the Palace and Dominion.
After the 1968 conversion the walls at the front near the screen were sloped inwards, possibly due to the auditorium being extended into the former stage area. The slope did give an unsusual effect when watching films from certain seats. Since the conversion into two screens this effect has been lost.
Showing my age but I saw the movie Grease here on its release in 1978. It was shown in Screen 1 and I can still recall the mad scenes at the final number as everyone danced on the flat floor that extends from the former circle front to the screen. Not sure I danced I was probably worried about going through into screen 2 or 3.
I recall the old Warner Westend shortly before demolition of the auditorium block. It was always a favourite place of mine to see a film in the 1980’s even the smaller screens built in the basement were good althpugh I seem to remmember they were reached through a maze of narrow corridors and could be hard to find!! The replacement is awful and bland and as I remember has a very strange angled auditorium in one of the screens.
Was in York yesterday and having a few hours to spare thought I might try and see Casino Royale at City Screen. No Chance, two afternoon screenings sold out and queues of people out the door. Surely this proves that a city centre cinema is viable and if this movie had been on at the Odeon business would have been fantastic. Someone please take on this building and prove it can work it is so sad to see it boarded up.
While I appreciate the original campaign to save the signage I can’t help feeling it may have added to Odeon’s unwillingness to refurbish this cinema as they couldn’t rebrand. And therefore contributed to the decline. This raises the question about the fine line of preserving buildings in museum state and operating in the modern market. I agree that little imagination has been used by Odeon but ironically if a new chain or single owner takes over and I sincerely hope they do, the old signage may be consigned to storage as Odeon like to protect their name and probably would object to it remaining in place. On a suggestion for the future,maybe Norwich Union should donate the freehold of the building to the city council , they can afford it. Then intrested groups could apply to run it.
It wasn’t that bad! Though maybe the years have given me a rose tinted view of the place. For some reason I saw a lot of films here including most of the James Bond series and still remember well the climb to the first floor box office to buy tickets. The cinema didn’t have screen tabs, instead there were those lava lamp oil patterns that spiralled over the screen while you waited for the trailers. Far out man!