Ritzy Picturehouse

Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane,
London, SW2 1JG

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Ritzy Picturehouse

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the southwest inner-city London distict of Brixton. Opening on 24th March 1911 as the Electric Pavilion, it was designed by architects E.C Homer & Lucas. It has outlasted its local competition (the fabulous Accademy, former Astoria Theatre with its superb Atmospheric style interior). The seating capacity was 800 in 1937 when it was known as the Brixton Pavilion Cinema. In 1954, noted cinema architect George Coles made some alterations to the building (possibly for CinemaScope installation).

The cinema has been through a lot of tough times but after restoration of the exterior in 1994 and a further four screens with bar and cafe being built alongside (on the site of the WWII bombed Brixton Theatre). Its fortunes have seen a total reverse from the 1970’s when it was nearly demolished.

The Ritzy is now part of the Picturehouse group who run many of London’s best independent art house cinemas, and was voted by Time Out readers as London’s second favorite cinema in 2001, the Ritzy programme covers the best of quality mainstream to art house and documentary programmes, it also has one of the first three DLP digital projectors in the UK (the others being at Manchester Filmworks and the Odeon Leicester Square)

The main auditorium retains magnificent Edwardian plasterwork with swagged ceiling ribs and paneled walls, as well as the original proscenium arch, and now seats 346 due to extra spacing between rows and larger seats. As of 2012, the screen (without a curtain in front of it) in the main auditorium is placed in front of the original arch. The four new screens have seating for 174, 113, 108 and 52.

The Ritzy Picturehouse is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Woody

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

woody
woody on April 1, 2005 at 4:53 pm

It also plays host to regular q&a’s with top talent, recent guests include M. Night Shyamalan(digital village screening), Spike Lee (masterclass), Michael Winterbottom and Kieran O'Brien (9 Songs screening and q&a) and director Ken Loach. Which is quite amazing given its rough but vibrant neighbourhood, its in an equivalent area to the Kings in Brooklyn and no less iconic to its local supporters and residents.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 28, 2005 at 10:03 pm

An exterior photo and some history on the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, London here:
http://www.tnunn.f2s.com/ritzy.htm

kevinp
kevinp on August 7, 2005 at 10:39 am

I remember the Ritzy well, as I used to go there on a Saturday night after finishing my shift at Streatham Odeon ( FKA The Astoria ).
Great programming and friendly staff.

Herewith a link to an early picture from 1911, and an interior of the restored auditorium : hats off

View link

best

kevp

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 2, 2005 at 9:43 pm

The Ritzy Cinema is now known as the Ritzy Picturehouse.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 8, 2005 at 8:48 am

Some before and after photographs of the Ritzy Picturehouse and more historic details:
http://www.urban75.org/brixton/history/ritzy.html

Close-up before and after photographs:
http://www.urban75.org/brixton/history/ritzy2.html

The site of the Ritzy prior to its errection and the Brixton Theatre & Opera House which stood next door:
View link

Architect Frank Matcham designed the Brixton Theatre & Opera House. It was never a cinema, but worth mentioning here. It was destroyed by bombing in World War II and the site is now used by the Ritzy as their newly built bar/cafe and 4 extra screens, as shown in the bottom photo.
View link

Two more before and after photographs:
View link

Ian
Ian on May 6, 2006 at 12:32 pm

Another interior picture here from 1985

View link

Ian
Ian on December 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm

A few vintage (1984) shots of the Ritzy here:–

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TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Interesting youtube video of the RITZY PICTURHOUSE.

woody
woody on June 12, 2010 at 12:02 am

photos from the World Premiere of he British film Shank in March 2010, in a recent refurbishment, the box office and the cafe have swapped places, so the original cinema entrance is now a large cafe bar and the cinema is entered from the new extension
exterior
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4689432494/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688798207/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688799893/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4689429956/
lobby with temporary red carpet for the premiere
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688800627/
auditorium with the director and cast on stage
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688802081/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688801325/
and after the crowds had gone
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4688797303/

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