Florida Cinema

678 High Road,
London, N17 0AE

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Florida Cinema

Located in the north London district of Tottenham. The Grand Picture House opened pre-1913 and had a seating capacity given as 750. The operators in the early years were R.C. Buchanan & Co. By 1913 it had been re-named Tottenham Pavilion. By 1918 it was operated by Messrs A.D. Dubowski and M. Michaels with a seating capacity given as 710. By 1927 it was operated by Ben Jay.

In 1937 it was purchased by Davies Cinemas Ltd. and they employed the architects Howes & Jackman to re-design the building, and they gave it a new stream-line Art Deco facade. The old auditorium was demolished, apart from one wall, and a new interior was built in the Art Deco style, designed by interior designers Eugene Mollo & Michael Egan of the firm Mollo & Egan. Although not a major job for them compared to other cinema decorative schemes they had carried out, they applied some plaque-like features to the side-walls. It re-opened in late-1938 as the Florida Cinema. Seating was provided for 529 in stalls and a small balcony.

The Florida Cinema was closed on 15th May 1971 with Sid James in “Carry on Camping” and Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in “That Riviera Touch”. The building was demolished and a small office and retail building was built on the site. By 2008, that too had been demolished and TFC supermarket has been built on an extension of the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

exciterlamp on May 10, 2006 at 1:20 am

According to “Cinema & Theatre Construction” magazine and the architects, who were still in business in the 1970s, all but one wall of the Grand / Pavilion was demolished, so the Florida was a totally new building. The wall was possibly retained to overcome planning regulations, which may have required wider access ways had the building been completely new. Owing to the smallness of the site and the need to have as many seats as possible, the foyer was miniscule.

cosmichotspur on June 10, 2007 at 1:05 pm

I lived in Argyle Road, just along the High Road from the Florida Cinema. One of my earliest memories, around 1952, was being taken by my older sister to see Alice in Wonderland and then being deserted when she went off with some friends. I was terrified when Alice began growing bigger!

I often went to see films there with my parents on a weekday evening as they went regularly every week. I rememnber the lovely woman who sat in a tiny cubicle taking the money and giving us our tickets – she was plump and had marcel-waved dyed blonde hair and very red lipstick. I also remember the thrill of the ice cream girl coming round during the interval and being bought a choc ice.

I vividly remember going with my sister to see Rock Around the Clock there and watching her and her pals jiving in the aisles!

Aaaah … memories of childhood!


Capelmawr on July 5, 2009 at 11:01 am

Sorry Carol, but part of your memory has faded, “Rock around the Clock” was shown at the Palace, not the Florida! and as the Police Station was situated directly across the road from the Palace, anyone who tried to jive was very quickly arrested and taken away!

exciterlamp on September 18, 2009 at 4:39 am

Who remembers Tony’s Peanuts? I used to go regularly to the Florida on a Sunday to see the “Sunday For One Day Only” horror film. As you waited outside for the cinema to open, you would see a figure in the distance walking towards you from the direction of Spurs ground and swaying wildly from side to side. It was Tony Pankle. He had one leg much shorter than the other, but did not wear a block boot. At the cinema he would look around, presumably to see if there were any coppers, unzip a canvas bag and flip out a handwritten cardboard notice bearing the words “Tony’s Peanuts 6d”. Because he was so deformed, I never bought any. I feel both ashamed of myself and very sorry for Tony, who must have been very poor to have to scrape together a few pennies like that.

hjuk on December 20, 2009 at 5:00 am

The London Project has this as being owned on opening by Adelphi Picture Theatres Ltd along with a sister venue on Turnpike Lane Harringay/Hornsey (http://londonfilm.bbk.ac.uk/view/venue/?id=252)

exciterlamp on March 12, 2010 at 1:02 pm

In latter years the Florida was owned by the Davies circuit and/or British Cinematograph Theatres, both of which were run by John Wingett Davies. He was a lovely, kind man, very involved in the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association. In 1977 he very generously gave me the projectors from one of his other cinemas, the Premier in Enfield, which had been my local until it clossed in 1961. One of these machines is now in regular use in my home cinema.

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