Walpole Cinema

18-22 Bond Street,
London, W5 5AA

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Walpole Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the west London district of Ealing. Originally opened on 23rd December 1908 as the Walpole Hall Roller Skating Rink which was designed by architect Alfred Burr. It was converted into the Walpole Picture Theatre from 29th July 1912 and architect J. Stanley Beard was responsible for the conversion. The conversion included the erection of a charming ornate facade that was faced in ceramic tiles, some of which had the theatre’s name enscribed.

Seating was provided for 1,600, all on one level in the stalls and the interior of the building was very basic, with roof trusses showing and only a decorative proscenium arch to give a little glamour to the place.

It was operated as an independent by T.B. Percy, J.D. Percy and H. Usher, who 20 years later built and opened the Atmospheric styled Avenue Theatre, Northfields, Ealing (later Odeon Ealing).

The Walpole Picture Theatre was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres chain from 18th February 1936 and it was the main Ealing town centre Odeon Release theatre for many years.

Later operated by the Rank Organisation who had taken over Odeon Theatres, they closed the Walpole Cinema on 28th October 1972 screening the double bill re-issue programme; Malcolm McDowell in “If” and Richard Benjamin in “Goodbye Columbus”.

The building was converted into a carpet store and when this closed it became a rehearsal studio for rock groups. It was demolished in May 1981 and an office block named Walpole House was built on the site, which is used by Thames Valley University.

A nice gesture of the developers was to save the tiled frontage and it was re-erected against the side wall of a building just off Mattock Lane a short distance away, where it remains to be seen today.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

woody
woody on March 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

apparently this facade is to be moved again and incorporated in the redevelopment of the Empire (former Forum) cinema into a 16 screen megaplex

keiths
keiths on August 7, 2009 at 8:47 am

Looking at the two pictures re-posted on Jan 5th, it’s not obvious from the front that the auditorium was actually quite a distance from the road/entrance, and was reached via a lengthy corridor. This entered the cinema at the base of the raked seats.

When I worked there for a short while, as a projection assistant, I seem to remember being told the throw was around 100 feet. The screen was quite narrow, and was not widened when ‘scope came along – presumably to be able to leave the two marble pillars that flanked it intact. This meant that, rather than the VERTICAL masking moving in and out to change to 'scope, the HORIZONTAL masking moved up and down instead. Another bi-product of this, was that a longer focal length standard lens was required when the anamorph was swung in front than was used for 'flat’ ratio films. The ads and trailers were always ‘flat’, so were assembled on a reel by themselves. As soon as the ‘scope feature started, the lenses and gates would be swapped over, ready for the first changeover. During the last reel, the lenses and gate had to be swapped again, ready for the next – continuous in those days – showing. The carbon rods also had to be checked, and changed every couple of reels per projector, so MAJOR problems ensued if the first or last reel of the feature was a bit short. For obvious reasons, focus could be a bit 'iffy’ at the first changeover after the lenses had been changed, but a bit of judicious marking of the lens mount, and a lot of practise, kept this to a minimum.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 23, 2010 at 4:58 am

A set of vintage photographs of the Walpole Cinema:
View link

LouiseC
LouiseC on May 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm

It’s an odd place for the frontage to end up!

keiths
keiths on November 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=72614

Although the film this link connects to concerns the building of the Forum cinema around the corner, the exterior of the Walpole features quite prominently in it.

kevinp
kevinp on December 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

here’s a rare picture inside take by the great John Maltby

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevp/2974709791/

keiths
keiths on December 6, 2010 at 2:51 am

What a find. By the time I was involved with the place in 1970, the whole of the inside was painted black. If my memory serves me well, the picture was taken from a point in front of the steeply raked rear stalls. The cinema was actually quite large inside, the projection throw being around 100 feet. The ‘scope picture was like a postage stamp from the back, due to being the same width as the 1.33:1

Malc1945
Malc1945 on March 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

This cinema had BTH Supers projectors in 1960 The chief was a man called Ron Pask a union steward. There was a lot of friction between the projectionist here and us at the Forum, Ealing which backed onto this cinema.

keiths
keiths on November 25, 2013 at 5:23 am

They had been replaced by Kalee’s – possibly 20’s – by 1968.

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