30-32 Conway Street,
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The Empire Cinema opened on 26th May 1917, and was designed by A. E. Shennan. It seated 800, of which 200 were in the small balcony. Sound was installed in August 1929.
The Empire Cinema was turned over to bingo in the 1960’s but the decline of cinema and the rise of bingo meant a surprise return to films for the Empire Cinema when Essoldo, who also owned the vast Ritz Cinema opposite, decided to switch and operate bingo at the Ritz Cinema and movies at the Empire Cinema, which was refurbished and renamed New Essoldo Luxury Cinema to mark the occasion. Reopening took place on 14th February 1969 with seating down to around 500 for the film “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
The Essoldo Cinema then passed to Classic Cinemas Ltd. and then the Cannon Group, both of whom renamed the venue. Closure came in the 1990’s and the former cinema is now a nightclub, closed at the time of this report.
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