Granada Kingston upon Thames

154-166 Clarence Street,
Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1QP

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, Granada Theatres Ltd., Hyams & Gale, Virgin Cinemas

Architects: George Coles, Cecil Aubrey Masey

Functions: Nightclub

Styles: Art Deco, Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: Options Cinema, Cannon, Virgin, ABC

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Granada Kingston upon Thames

In 1938 the Hyams Brothers were granted permission to build a cinema in Clarence Street, in the centre of Kingston upon Thames. It was due to be named the State Theatre and would have joined their other State Theatres at Kilburn and Holloway, which were taken over by Gaumont British Theatres (both have their own pages on Cinema Treasures). Here at Kingston upon Thames, the half completed building was taken over by Granada Theatres and on 1st June 1939 new plans were approved. These meant scrapping the proposed restaurant above the foyer and the curved proscenium arch, but retained the original architect George Coles, with Cecil Masey acting as consultant architect. Granada’s favoured interior designer Theodore Komisarjevsky was brought in, to design what was a referred to as a ‘standard’ Granada interior.

Due to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, building work slowed down and the Granada Theatre opened on 3rd November 1939 with Don Ameche in "The Modern Miracle"(aka The Story of Alexander Graham Bell) and Sandy Powell in "Home From Home". It was opened by film star couple Jesse Mathews and Sonnie Hale who lived locally in Hampton. Noted organist Reginald Dixon opened the Wurlitzer 3Manual/10Ranks organ with attached Grand Piano (it had originally been installed in the Picture House, Edinburgh as a 3Manual/8Rank instrument). There was a fully equipped stage, and the proscenium opening was considered to be extremely wide. The screen size was 30 feet wide and 24 feet tall and was stated to be ‘among the largest in the world’. There was a car park located at the rear of the cinema in Cromwell Road.

Externally, there was a brick tower feature to the right of the entrance and on the entrance facade there were three large windows which allowed light into the foyer. The auditorium was set at right-angles to the entrance and ran parallel to Clarence Road behind three shop units. Inside the auditorium there were three decorative grilles on the side splay walls which had the organ chambers behind. A large central feature in the ceiling was highly decorated and contained a ‘Granada’ chandelier.

The Granada Theatre was converted into a triple screen cinema from 19th December 1973 with Screen 1 seating 975 (697 in the former circle and 278 in the former front stalls), Screens 2 and 3 were located in the former rear stalls beneath the circle and seated 194 and 211. The Wurlitzer organ was retained and was used for Sunday morning concerts until 1982 when it was removed.

The Granada Theatre closed on 29th January 1987 and the following day was given a Grade II Listed building status by English Heritage.

The former circle and front stalls areas became a nightclub and the two mini cinemas were retained and expanded, with a further screen added in an upper section of the building. They re-opened on 11th December 1987 as Options Cinema with seating for 303, 287 and 208. Taken over by the Cannon Group in January 1989, they were taken over by Virgin from July 1995 and finally by ABC from 3rd May 1996.

The ABC Cinema closed on 28th August 2002, the entire building became a nightclub named Oceana. It had a refurbishment and could accommodate 2,500, and has two dance floors and five bars. In 2014 the club was rebranded from Oceana, and became PRYZM. This followed the murder of 20 year old Jamie Sanderson, who was stabbed at the venue in 2012. The council had revoked the club’s licence, but its decision was overturned on appeal, when the management agreed to cut capacity by 15%, limit the sale of alcohol and introduce ID scanners. In February 2024 the owners of PRYZM & Atik chain of nightclubs were planning to call in administrators.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ian on December 26, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Exterior photo of Options here:–

View link

and foyer photo here:–

View link

both from 1988.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 30, 2010 at 7:35 am

Vintage photographs of the Granada, and its Wurlitzer organ console:

courtwick on December 23, 2012 at 6:37 am

It wasn’t Reginald Dixon but the far more famous broadcaster organist Reginald Foorte. He was the resident organist at the regal (ABC) and there was an outside broadcast connection in a doorway on the corner of the building that the BBC connected too.

Johnllon on February 10, 2019 at 5:47 am

I did see some films there. Also in the early 1960’s I visited the projection box. There was a Projectomatic system, and 4 track magnet sound. At the end of the last evening show the motorized screen tabs would be closed from the box, but one of the projectionist would go down to back stage to hand wind the main house tabs closed.

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