6 Sterling Way,
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This huge cine-variety theatre was built in the outer north London suburb of Edmonton by A.E. Abrahams, the architect was Clifford Aish who also designed the Regal Cinema, Marble Arch in Central London.
The Regal Theatre opened on 8th March 1934 and was an immediate success. As well as film shows they were accompanied by lavish stage shows. The 45 feet deep stage was fully equipped and even had a revolve in the centre which could rise up. The proscenium was 58 feet wide and there were 16 dressing rooms. There was also a Christie 4 Manual/15 Rank theatre organ with an illuminated console that was opened by Sydney Torch.
The building which occupied a corner site on busy Fore Street and Silver Street (today Sterling Way) also contained a restaurant and ballroom, which both had their own separate entrances. Inside the auditorium seating was provided on orchestra and circle levels and all lighting was hidden in troughs which ran in three bands around the proscenium arch and concealed lighting in the domes in the ceiling.
Within days of opening A.E. Abrahams had leased the Regal Theatre to the Hyams & Gale circuit and they operated it until they were taken over by Gaumont Super Cinemas in October 1935. Eventually Gaumont became part of the Rank Organisation but always the building was owned by the Abrahams family who installed clauses in the lease that it should always remain fully equipped as a cinema with full working stage facilities.
The stage was used less frquently as years went by, but still packed them in when artists such as The Beatles and even Frank Sinatra ventured into outer north London when the 2,940 seats were filled and the 1,000 capacity standing room was taken up.
But these events were few and far between and on regular film weeks, audiences were sparce and the with the size of the cinema working against it in the 1970’s, Rank closed the Regal Cinema as a full time cinema on 6th July 1972 with Charles Bronson in “Chato’s Land”. It was re-vamped with the orchestra stalls seating removed and the floor leveled, the building became a disco and live concert venue named the Sundown. Groups such as Hawkwind, Doctor John, Steppenwolf, T-Rex, Faces, Rod Stewart, Elton John and The Groundhogs played this venue.
However, this venture failed and on 24th March 1974 it re-opened as the Regal Cinema, using seating that had remained in situ in the circle. This also failed and the Regal Cinema screened its last films on 3rd August 1974 with a double bill British comedy programme Wilfrid Bramble in “Steptoe and Son” and Warren Mitchell in “Till Death Us Do Part”.
The Regal Cinema was converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club and this lasted until 1985 when planning permission was granted for demolition and the wreckers moved in during November/December 1985. Right up to the end, the Rank Organisation had honoured the lease and kept all equipment in the theatre to full working order. Projectors were well oiled and run on a weekly basis just in case films returned, the stage revolve, curtains and screen were all there, even the Christie organ which was often still used at well attended concerts and to entertain the bingo players was in immaculate condition when the bull-dozers moved in.
A Safeway supermarket was built on the site which became a Lidl supermarket. By 2018 it was in use by the Brazilian based United Church of the Kingdom of God as a ‘Help Centre’.
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