Ritz Cinema

Quarry Hill,
Grays, RM17 5BT

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Ritz Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ritz Cinema opened on 25th November 1940, unusual, as Britain was already over one year into World War II and non-essential buildings were not being built.

It was built for the small Lou Morris chain of cinemas and in July 1941 was taken over by Frederick’s Electric Theatres (Abraham’s Consolidated Co’s. Ltd.) who already operated the nearby State Cinema. Designed by architect E.H. Parke, the exterior has a brick faced tower feature over the corner entrance. Seating in the auditorium was provided in stalls and circle levels and the decorative scheme was a streamline Art Deco style with picturesque details. The proscenium was 41 feet wide and the cinema was equipped with a 2Manual LaFleur (Hammond) organ which was opened by noted theatre organist Florence De Jong, who was the wife of Lou Morris.

Abraham’s operated the Ritz Cinema for the remainder of its cinematic life and it closed on 1st February 1976 and was converted into a bingo club. Initially operated as an independent bingo club, it became part of the Mecca Bingo Club’s chain in 1979. The Mecca Bingo Club was closed on 15th July, 2015. By early 2016 it had been converted into a church.

The Ritz Cinema is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian
Ian on December 22, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Exterior photo circa 1987 here:–

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Interior shot here:–

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wearysloth
wearysloth on April 26, 2016 at 2:50 am

I know not when the transition occurred, but as of 4/25/2016, the cinema is
The Redeemed Christian Church of God
House of Praise

popcorn_pete
popcorn_pete on June 10, 2016 at 1:51 am

Rumour has it the deal was settled prior to Mecca’s departure on 19 July. The church is the same one that occupies the Regal at Camberwell. Mecca had a 50-year lease from 2 February 1976 so whether it was purchased or is leased I don’t know.

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