Showing 9 comments
Also, this is one of my favourite building facade’s in all of London as it has this look of an old ruin, but one that still thrives in a totally different context from what it was, but that’s what makes London so cool, and that is how new things can preserve the past and this is how we don’t have to demolish old buildings, as long as someone finds some menaingful use for them. Not far from this cinema is where Hendrix wrote Purple Haze!!
I actually live in Forest Gate, and in the early 80s most of the local cinemas were closed, the closest being the Odeon cinemas in Ilford and Barking. They were a little out of the way, and even in the 80s they appeared anachronistic, something that belonged to the old world, there was such indifference to the two Odeon’s that were still open. Me and my siblings had to use cinemas outside of the area, the cool thing being we got to see movies in many of the London cinemas now closed or turned into multiplexes. Sometimes we were unable to see movies we really wanted to. This old Odeon, this glorious monolithic building always filled me with fascination, and the huge Odeon logo was still there when I was a child. Its very design and that red lettering suggested such grandeur and I loved the idea of going in a place like that as the banal world continued in its daily life outside. In there, like the old cinemas, there was a world that was about spectacle, and as people fell in love with VHS, I always wished they opened that Odeon so I could go inside and soak in the atmosphere. I must have been about four or five then, in the mid 80s, and I knew even then that few people were frequenting cinemas and I sensed if it was still open, there’d only be a few people there, but I kind of liked that idea since I’d rather watch films in a huge theatre with a handful of people who really want to revel in the experience. This building has haunted me for many years, and it is a stark reminder of what the area must have been like, and I feel such great indifference to it, witnessing the facade. There is something odd when you encounter a place that people no longer have a connection with, as far its design is concerned, it just reminds people of the deadness of things, of lost grandeur, the loss of artifice. I donâ€™t know, at some point I will write more about this, in some other way maybe, but the building has always been a great source of inspiration for me.
Although the mosque has removed the Pan figures, being a local person, and having a very good understanding of the culture, I could assure everyone that the owners did not mean to deface the building. As a mosque, it cannot depict images of humans, as this is prohibited within the Islamic religion, and even if they had wanted to preserve them, such is the law of conviction that keeping them there would have represented blasphemy to the current users. The building itself retains a lot of its Character, it will always have its history and at least the current owners have found some sort of meaningful use for the building. The mosque has saved it from demolishment, so it continues to exist. The local Council, Newham have very little appreciation of history, and if they could not even oversee how its local monument, The Old Spotted Dog pub was defiled recently by the present owners, following its sale, I doubt theyâ€™d have thought an old Odeon was worth keeping. There are numerous other people who may have torn it down. I may go in there and take some pictures, but as a place of worship, it may not be permitted, but I can probably take photos of the exterior. An area that has changed beyond recognition, this cinema is an integral part of its affluent pre-war past, something that we all walk past. Yes, the area is predominantly Muslim and Asian, but this cinema is one of the few remaining buildings that left a mark from a different point in history and there should be such markers from throughout history so we could also trace how we evolve, change and find meaning in other things, and back again. The Odeon logo is gone now, and the main entrance is now flanked by two Islamic themed shops but the funny thing is it still looks like a cinema. I love that building, even if no longer shows movies!!
I love this cinema, such great memories of skiving school and spending warm comfy afternoons here. I saw so many great movies here in the late 80s (before I got to ten), and I even enjoyed going here through the 90s. I live in East London, so it is hard to get there, and in spite of it being turned into a Multiplex, I love this building, it has such great atmosphere, and if they demolish this it will be a very sad day indeed.
I recently went past the building (Jan 2009), the paint job has been changed, and it seems to have been reopened as some sort of venue, but I have not gone inside. I do not live far from it, but there is little for me to do over there and I work full-time so don’t get the time to go there. It has either re-opened as a social club or a music venue, but I think whatever it has been turned into, it would soon go back into disrepair. I may take some pictures of the exterior and post them here. As it is open now, maybe it would be fun to go inside and see what it’s like.
In spite of this theatre having seen a great deal of change, I find this is still one of the few local cinemas in London that has an excellent atmosphere, and I do love watching films here. I just hope it keeps going.
Nice photos Lost Memory!!
Anyone got any photos?
From what time do these pictures date? I live very close to this building and can take some pictures, but since there are lots of drunks and weirdos hanging around I don’t want anyone to steal my camera (down here, even worthless things are stolen since who has even worthless things?)!
This building looked so cool as an Odeon and though the structure stands, you wouldn’t bleieve it is the same place!!
Does anyone know what currently stands on the site of the former Queen’s Cinema?
This cinema has 14 screens I believe, and I’ve only been to it a few times. I do not live far from the building, and the first film I saw here was Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones. It was a new building at the time, and Star Wars was shown on the biggest screen. The problem is that the few times I have been there, I have not sensed any excitement from the audiences or even the theatre managers.
Just before this complex opened my workplace, a disability charity iin the area received an invite to its opening. Me and my colleagues didn’t have time to attend but I think we all saw films here in the following weeks, and it was convenient to stop by and cathc a film before the long sprint home (we all lived local you see).
In any case, the area is populated, the people seem to be a little wealthier and there ain’t much to do other than window shopping or visiting friends who want to get out and about. The cinema sure will last as long as the digital age doesn’t wipe all public spaces off the face of the earth. It is not necessarily the type of ciema I usually go for, and leaking history, it is clean and air conditioned, fairly quiet and in a populated shopping area. a really cool library is pretty much next door to it.