Bruce Grove Cinema
117 Bruce Grove,
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The Bruce Grove Cinema was an imposing building located on Bruce Grove, across the street from Bruce Grove railway station in the centre of the north London suburb of Tottenham. It opened on 14th July 1921 with Douglas Fairbanks in “The Mark of Zorro” and Ray Berger in “Cupid Hires a Taxi Cab”. It was operated by the independent Tottenham Cinema and Entertainment Co. Ltd.
Designed by local architect Charles E. Blackbourn, who had offices in High Road Tottenham and Old Street, it was built by Knight & Sons. The corner entrance was dominated by a large domed tower and was illuminated at night by hundreds of light bulbs. There was also a large ballroom built adjacent along Bruce Grove and there was a car park at the rear.
It was reconstructed in August and September 1933 to the plans of architect Robert Cromie. Externally it was modernised and the domed tower feature was removed. In the auditorium which had seating in stalls and balcony levels, the space was given an Art Deco style.
In 1962 the cinema was taken over the Star Cinemas Ltd. of Leeds. A year later on 31st August 1963 the Bruce Grove Cinema was closed with Nancy Kwan in “Tamahine” and Ray Barrett in “To Have and To Hold”.
The building was converted into a Star Bingo Club and remained in this use for many years. At some time the building was twinned with the stalls area becoming a snooker club and the former balcony extended forward to the proscenium to remain a bingo club for a few more years. Bingo upstairs closed in May 1983 and the space was empty until 1986. It was then converted into an indoor cricket pavilion, but this was a short lived venture and it became a Quazar laser ‘shooting gallery. This was another fad and again the building became vacant until the early-1990’s when it was converted into a church, known as the Freedom’s Ark. Snooker continues in the former stalls area, together with a Caribbean restaurant.
The former ballroom (always a seperate building beyond the entrance to the cinema’s car park) was converted into four screen cinemas by Star Cinemas, opening as Studio 5, 6, 7, 8 in July 1974, with seating for 104, 115, 115 and 110. They were closed on 12th December 1981 and by 1985 this part of the Bruce Grove complex was converted into a banqueting suite and function rooms, known as the Regency Rooms, which remains open today.
In May 2011, the Freedom’s Ark church vacated the building and moved to another historic building in Tottenham. The upper part of the building is ‘To Let’.
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