Cannon Lewisham

15 Lewisham High Street,
London, SE13 5AF

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Kings Hall Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the southeast London district of Lewisham. The Kings’s Hall opened on 26th December 1912, and was located close to the Obelisk Cinema, which had opened in May of 1912. The King’s Hall was purpose built as a cinema and was designed by architect Percy Leeds, with seating provided for 748 in the stalls and 175 in the circle. The auditorium had a barrel-shaped ceiling and a ‘handsome’ frieze of allegorical figures around the walls.

The King’s Hall suffered German bomb damage, first on 7th September 1940, which closed the cinema until repairs were carried out, and it re-opened on 16th August 1943. It was bomb damaged again on 3rd July 1944, and this closed the building for much longer, due to building restrictions.

Repairs and renovations were carried out by architect Robert Cromie, and it re-opened as the Rex Cinema on 24th July 1950, being the first cinema in London to be re-constructed after war damage. The main exterior walls were retained, but the elaborate facade was given a new ‘modern’ look, and the interior was totally renewed.

The Rex Cinema was closed on 6th May 1967 and converted into a bingo club. Taken over by the Star Cinemas chain of Leeds, it re-opened as a twin cinema, Studios 6 & 7 on 26th December 1969 with Warren Mitchell in "Till Death Us Do Part" and Beryl Reid in "The Killing of Sister George". Seating was provided for 515 in Studio 6, and 372 in Studio 7.

It was re-named Cannon, when the Cannon Group took over Star Ciinemas in December 1985, and they closed the cinema in April 1986. It was demolished in May 1988.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm

A set of vintage photographs of the King’s Hall/Studios 6 & 7:
View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 29, 2009 at 5:13 am

Ken, where were Studios 1-5?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 29, 2009 at 10:43 am

By the late-1970’s, the Star Cinema circuit had re-named nearly all their existing cinemas Studio with a number. But the numbering is not rational. In London there was the Studios 1-4, Oxford Street, Studios 5-8, Bruce Grove, Tottenham, and in Lewisham, Studios 6 & 7. There never was a Studios 1-5 in Lewisham, or anywhere in the area.

In outer London was the Studios 1-3 in Cheam, Surrey. A city the size of Manchester had the centrally placed Studios 1-5, Oxford Road and the Studios 6-9, Deansgate and in the Greater Manchester area Altringham had Studios 1-3, Bolton had Studios 1-3 and Burnley had Studios 1-3. There were many more.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Thanks, Ken! Reminds me of New York where Cinema 3, a single screen inside the Plaza Hotel, was blocks away from Cinema I & II and it got even stranger when separate companies operated the two locations. The matter was further complicated by the Plaza Theatre located between the two, making it a scavenger hunt for tourists trying to find their movie.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 am

Ken Roe,Noticed what looked like ratings “Commando” had like 18 or something,did not have R rating. I notice PG on the other movie.

keiths
keiths on June 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I believe Star’s first attempt at twinning was Studio 1&2 in Guildford – long demolished to make way for an open air bus garage.

spencerphobbs
spencerphobbs on September 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

Not quite sure why the name heading here is given as (somewhat confusingly) “Cannon Studios 6 & 7” as they were obviously two separate names. The Leeds-based Star Group had actually taken it over through one of its bingo operating companies in 1967, and (very briefly) operated it as a cinema before the switch to bingo. The opening of a Mecca club nearby (plus two other bingo clubs in the immediate locality) prompted Star to switch back to films, as Studio 6 & 7. It opened the same week that Star also launched two other revamped cinemas. The cinema became a Cannon for only its last few months of operation, though I recall that the flashing neon sign and Studio signage was not changed until early 1986. Confusingly, the throwaway weekly film guides displayed on the cover “Cannon 6 & 7”, though this didn’t appear in advertising which simply included “1” and “2” with the appropriate films advertised alongside. Cannon hinted at “structural defects” as the reason for its previously un-announced closure, though if this was the case declined to pass this information on to any prospective buyers when the place was offered for sale (as I rang up and got the details at the time – for interest only (as I couldn’t afford it!!)) and with the acquisition of the ABC chain (with its twin-screen cinema at Catford) for imminent completion, the company seem to have simply written it of as surplus to requirements. An NCP car park replaced it for a time before the site was redeveloped. One thing of interest that could also have been mentioned is the name “Kings Hall Mews” which obviously commemorates the original name of the cinema.

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