Foresters Cinema

93 Cambridge Heath Road,
Bethnal Green,
London, E1 5RZ

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Located in the east London district of Bethnal Green. Originally opened as a hall attached to the Artichoke Public House from 1825, it was converted into the Foresters Music Hall from 1889 by architect Edward Clark. Known as the Royal Foresters Music Hall from 1901-1904 it reverted back to Foresters Music Hall from 1904, when it was operated by the MacNaghten Vaudeville Circuit.

From 1912 it was licenced to screen films and in 1916 was re-named the New Lyric Music Hall and was also known as the Lyric Theatre. It closed in 1917 and remained closed until September 1926 when it re-opened as the Foresters Super Cinema. Architect George Coles had supervised alterations to the building and seating was provided for 674 in the stalls and 383 in the balcony.

From 10th May 1937 it was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain but was never re-named ‘Odeon’. The Foresters Cinema suffered from war damage, but it struggled through the war, and was closed from 3rd May 1947 for repairs and re-opened on 10th October 1949 with Alan Ladd in “Chicago Deadline” and William Lundigan in “Follow Me Quietly”. It was then advertised as being part of the Gaumont circuit and the seating capacity had been reduced to 986.

The Foresters Cinema closed on 20th August 1960 with Charles Chaplin in “The Chaplin Revue” and Roger Mobley in “A Dog’s Best Friend”. The building stood empty and unused until around 1964 when it was demolished and a block of flats, Sovereign House, was built on the site.

Contributed by KenRoe
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