Gem Electric Theatre

6 Victoria Avenue,
Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2NG

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Gem Electric Theatre

In Southend-on-Sea, Essex, plans were submitted on 11th October 1910 to the building inspector’s office for the conversion of a garage into the Gem Electric Theatre. It was to be built at the beginning of Victoria Avenue, where it met the High Street, at a junction known as Victoria Circus, near the current Odeon multiplex.

The auditorium had a single floor. The owner was Mr F. F. Ramuz, who also owned the Pier Hill Cinema at the other end of the High Street.

The Gem Electric Cinema opened in May 1911. The frontage was covered with inscriptions extolling the virtues of film-going, including “The World Before Your Eyes”, “Amusing & Instructive” and “Refined & Interesting”.

Despite these exhortations the cinema had a short life, closing in 1922. The building became the Gem Bazaar before being demolished in the mid-1920’s to make way for the Victoria Arcade complex.

More recently the whole site has been developed into the Hammerson shopping centre, now Victoria Plaza.

Contributed by David Simpson
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