Astor Cinema

Mayplace Road West,
Bexleyheath, DA7 4JB

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Located on the corner of Mayplace Road West and Chapel Road. The Public Hall opened in 1870 and was built in a Gothic style. Initially used as a concert hall, it could seat 500 persons. Early film shows were screened here and in 1913 it had a Cinematograph Licence, operating as the Picture Palace. In 1915, it became the Palace Pictures and Variety – Public Hall. In the 1920’s it was operated by Harry Quinton. The stage was only 10 feet deep and the proscenium was 16 feet wide. Operating as the Palace Cinema, it was destroyed by a fire in 1934.

It was quickly rebuilt in an Art Deco style, with cream faience tiles on the facade, and still retaining the Palace Cinema name. The seating capacity was increased to 786 and the proscenium was now 26 feet wide. It had new owners in 1961 and the name was changed to Astor Cinema.

The Astor Cinema was closed on 4th November 1967 with David Tomlinson in "Up the Creek" and James Robertson Justice in "Raising the Wind". The building was converted into an independent bingo club, which operated until around 1998. The building then lay empty until it was demolished around 2003. In 2004, an archaeological dig on the site, revealed some Medieval remains and an undated ditch. Plans were proposed to build a Yate’s Wine Lodge pub and shops on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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