Classic Tooting

26 Upper Tooting Road,
London, SW17 7PG

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Classic Tooting

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the south London district of Tooting, close to Tooting Bec underground (Tube) station. The Central Hall Picture Palace opened on 14th October 1910. It was designed by the architectural firm of Norfolk & Pryor, headed by Edward A. Stone. The entrance, which was originally topped by an open dome, was on a corner. Seating was provided in stalls for 561 and circle for 233.

In 1923 it was re-named Central Cinema and was operated by Lion Cinematograph Ltd. It was taken over by S. Seeman by 1930 and then in 1936 it was taken over by Capitol & Provincial News Theatres Ltd. (later to become Classic Repertory Cinemas) and it was re-named Classic Cinema. They carried out an extensive refurbishment and the facade was given a ‘new look’, particulary stunning at night with its spectacular new neon display.

Often advertised as and also known as the Classic Tooting Bec because it was not in the centre of Tooting but was some distance north and closer to Tooting Bec Underground (tube) rail station.

The Classic Cinema closed on 21st March 1983 with Mel Gibson in “Mad Max” and “Mad Max II”. In its last years it had also been used for screening Asian ‘Bollywood’ films on Sunday mornings/afternoons.

The building was closed up for a while, then the stalls area was converted into retail use and the circle became the Classic Nightclub from 1987, which remains in use today.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 23, 2010 at 4:38 am

A vintage postcard view of the Central Hall Picture Palace:
View link

TLSLOEWS on March 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Nice picture interesting name.

spencerphobbs on April 13, 2014 at 3:20 am

There are a few errors with some of the information and dates here (as unfortunately seems to be a running theme with most of the listings on this otherwise interesting website) but, just to correct one, it is stated here that, after closure in 1983, the cinema was used for showing “Asian "Bollywood” films until 1986.“ Just to clarify, however, the building was actually sealed up with corrugated iron over the entrance when it closed in 1983(which would obviously have made access something of a problem had this been the case),whilst the Indian operator who had hired the cinema from Classic for the Sunday only Asian screenings had actually pulled out sometime before the cinema was closed, blaiming falling attendances and the availablity of Indian films on home video.

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