Gale's Electric Theatre

171 Barking Road,
London, E15

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Located in Canning Town, east London. This was the first cinema to be operated by Arthur John Gale. He was later to team up with the Hyams Brothers to form the Hyams & Gale chain, which built and operated such splendid London super cinemas as the Gaumont State, Kilburn, the Troxy Stepney and the Trocadero, Elephant & Castle.

Gale’s Bioscope Show was constructed within a former confectionary factory, and was considered the first ‘twin’ cinema to operate. The two screens were on the lower two floors of the building, with living and staff quarters on the top floor. It opened in 1908, but the building was destroyed in a fire in 1909, one of several such incidents which resulted in the Cinematograph Licencing Act becoming law in 1910.

The cinema was rebuilt to the plans of architect C.L. Jint and opened in 1911 as Gale’s Electric Theatre. It closed in 1914/1915, due to the outbreak of World War I.

Located on the corner of Barking Road and Beckton Road, the land is now an open space in front of a 1970’s block of council flats.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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