Amhurst Hall

42 Kingsland High Street,
London, E8 2JP

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Located in the east London inner-city district of Dalston. The Amherst Hall was located on the east side of Kingsland High Street at the north corner with Abbot Street, and entranced down a narrow passage named Stanborough Passage. It was purpose built as a cinema by Frederick William Purcell, who operated it from its opening on 26th December 1908 until at least 1915. Designed as a 707-seat cinema by noted theatre architect Frank Matcham, this was one of only a few purpose-built cinemas he designed. F.W. Purcell had built and operated the Frank Matcham designed Alexandra Theatre in nearby Stoke Newington, and also the Matcham designed Marlborough Theatre, Holloway.

It was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system in around 1930, and by 1934 it was operated by Amhurst Pictures Ltd., the spelling of the cinema name being changed to Amhurst. By 1937 the Amhurst Hall was operated by Watford Amusements and had a seating capacity of 903.

The Amhurst Hall was closed in September 1940 a victim of World War II conditions when is sustained bomb damage during a German air raid. It never re-opened and received further bomb damage in November 1940. It was used for a while as a storage facility for storing furniture from bombed out homes. In 1942 it was listed as being vacant and unused and in 1951, it was in use as a theatrical store. Demolished in the late-1960’s to build a new Woolworth’s store, in 2009, a Macdonald’s Restaurant and Currys electrical store operate on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

SpurredoninDublin on September 16, 2015 at 12:01 am

I was amazed to find this Cinema. I used to pass by it most days as a child in the 1950’s by which time it was closed, and I have only discovered it’s name and full history today. It appears on a 1953 map as “Amherst Hall”, and it was only when I remembered that many of the places with the Amherst name on it were spelled with “Amhurst” that I found this on Google.

Though it had been closed long before I was born, the building was easily recognisable as having been a cinema. I recall there being a row of 2 or three double doors and you could see the push bar devices through the glass.

There was another similar building in another alleyway about half a mile north, which I believe might have been in Millers Terrace. Does anyone have info on that please?

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