Grand Casino Cinema

105-106 Strand,
London, WC2R 0EW

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Built on the site of the The Fountain (later Occidental) Tavern, which contained the notorious Coal Hole. Terry’s Theatre was opened on 17th October 1887 with "The Churchwarden" a farce in three acts by Rudolph Kneisel. Designed by theatre architect Walter Emden in a Flemish style, it had a rather narrow frontage on the Strand which was two bays wide. Inside the auditorium, seating was provided for 370 in pit & stalls area, 140 in the dress circle, 90 in the upper circle and 250 in the gallery. There were also boxes which seated a total of 38. The side exits and stage door were in the Savoy Buildings, which also contained the Savoy Hotel.

Alterations were carried out in July 1905, to the plans of noted theatre architect Frank Matcham. Compared to other West End theatres, Terry’s theatre could be described as only moderately successful. It last production to be staged was "The Rejuvination of Aunt Mary" starring May Robson, which opened in August 1910 and closed on 8th October 1910.

It was quickly converted into a cinema by architect William Hancock, first known as Terry’s Cinema, which opened on 24th October 1910. Projection was from a newly constructed box located in the pit area, at the rear of the stalls, beneath the dress circle. Within weeks it was re-named Grand Casino Cinema. It came under the ownership of Moss Empires Theatres chain until 1921. Continuing under an independent operator, it was closed on 3rd November 1923 and was demolished in 1924 for a road widening scheme on this south side of the Strand.

An office and retail block named Norman House was built on an enlarged site, which included a large branch of Woolworths. Norman House was partly demolished in March 1966, and a new building named Savoy Buildings was constructed next to Woolworths and straddling the old Fountain Court. There are two plaques on the wall commemorating the history of the site, but Terry’s Theatre is not mentioned!

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

KenRoe
KenRoe on December 11, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Some more history and memorabilia on Terry’s Theatre;
http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Terrys.htm

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