Playhouse Cinema

Broadway and Chant Street,
London, E15 4BQ

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Located on the corner of Broadway and Chant Street in Stratford, east London. The Picture Palace opened in August 1910 for the London and Provincial Theatres Ltd. chain. The building had a Neo-Classical facade on its corner entrance, with Doric colums aside the entrance, which supported an half-domed balcony. Above this was a decorative pediment, that was topped at its rear by a large octagonal dome surmounted by a ball.

It was re-named Empire Cinema Theatre in 1911, then Empire Electric Theatre in 1912. By 1918, it was operated by Phil & Sid Hyams and was re-named Imperial Playhouse, and by 1922, Playhouse Cinema.

In 1928, it was sold to Denman Picture Houses Ltd. part of the Gaumont British Theatres chain, and they used it as an ‘overflow’ cinema for their nearby Broadway Super Cinema(later Gaumont), which seated 2,768, and had been built by the Hyams brothers in 1926. Plans were drawn up by noted cinema architect George Coles to modernise the Playhouse Cinema in the 1930’s, but these were never carried out.

The Playhouse Cinema was closed in 1941 due to damage by German bombs, and it stood semi-derelict until the early-1960’s. It was repaired and re-opened as the Regal Bingo Club. By 1980, it had become the Regal Billiard Club. It was demolished in 1989, and an office building named Gredley House was built on the site, which today contains a branch of Nat West Bank at street level.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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