Old Cinema's of Tottenham
Memories of the Silver Screen's
|Lets all go to the FLICKs.... This was a very
familiar cry in the heyday of the cinema in Tottenham dating back to the early 1920s
when many of the former cinemas were built. These were the days long before television and
the many other forms of entertainment available to the community today.
So lets take a tour around the former cinemas of Tottenham and
surrounding districts....but first kindly take your seats !
The Palace Cinema
The largest of Tottenham's Cinemas - now closed
Situated in the High Road opposite Police Station
Bruce Grove Cinema
An old photograph of the cinema dating back to 1939 and how it looks today.
|Many of the older residents of Tottenham will recall that the cinema show from this era would normally consist of two films, starting with the B movie, followed by Pathe News, Pearl & Dean advertisements and perhaps a cartoon before the main film was screened. Unlike today, the films were screened continuously and admission was allowed at any time. Consequently you would often hear the familiar cry of This is where we came in and people would vacate their seats part way through the film. The cinema usherette was also there to guide you by torch to a vacant seat and in the intervals she would also sell ice cream and confectionery from a tray supported round her neck.
The Florida Cinema
favourite cinema of Tottenham now closed.
The Imperial - West Green Road
The Imperial or Imp was later called the Essoldo. It has now been converted to a church but the interior is largely the same. To most of the local children it was known as The Flea Pit !
All around the borough there used to be display
boards on street corners which advertised forthcoming films that would be shown at your
|These two cinemas were in South Tottenham. The Corner, as the name suggests, was on the corner of Seven Sisters Road adjacent to Wards Store and the Mayfair was situated on the High Road almost immediately opposite St Anns Road.
|The cinema at Stamford Hill had seen many changes of name over the years. It was originally known as the Regent but subsequently changed its name to the Gaumont' and Odeon. The interior of the cinema was quite lavish as can be seen from the old photographs.
Early 3D Goggles
The Coliseum - Green Lanes - Harringay
|One of the earliest cinemas, the Coliseum has seen many changes over the years. It was converted to a Bingo hall in the 1970s and, as the picture bottom right shows, it is now largely derelict.
The Rex Cinema - Ducketts Common - Turnpike Lane
|Situated at the foot of Frobisher Road, yet another cinema that has seen many changes of name, the Premier, Rex, and Curzon to name but few.
Saturday Morning Pictures
However, I am sure that the vast majority of people will recall with great joy the pleasures of Saturday Morning Pictures when children throughout Tottenham, along with brothers sisters and friends, would flock to their local cinema with great excitement on Saturday mornings. And what a treat was in store as you sat down to watch some of the favourite film characters of the day...
The Ritz - Turnpike Lane
Another fine old cinema once situated on the corner of Carlingford Road, Turnpike Lane
|The children of Summerhill Road in
the 1950s would at first have attended the Imperial
Cinema or Imp in West Green Road (also known with great
amusement as ..The Fleapit) The cinema was later named the 'Essoldo' but
by this time most of the children had gravitated towards the Ritz
Cinema at Turnpike Lane . At the Ritz you could join up to
become an ABC Minor and all join in the familiar song We
are the ABC minors, the tune of which resembled the old
anyone who would care to listen again to the ABC Minors song or have a nostalgic trip back
to your youth then simply CLICK on these You
CINEMA VISIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAhZ41IaKEg&NR=1
|I can also recall, when a pupil at
Downhills Junior School in 1953, the entire class being paraded up West Green
Road and along to the Ritz to see the
Conquest of Everest which was a documentary film to mark Edmund Hillary
and Sherpa Tensing, and the team led by John Hunt, being the first people to reach the
summit of Mount Everest. This had occurred of course a short time prior to the
Queens Coronation in June 1953.
In his youth, Ted Willis, a famous son of Tottenham, was a regular visitor to the Imperial, Premier or Coliseum cinemas from his home in Stanley Road, Tottenham.
|This is evident by the title of one his early
autobiographies in which he writes..
Every boy must have a hero. From time to time my own need was supplied from legendary figures as Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Douglas Fairbanks and other hard-fighting, hard-riding stars of the films we queued to see at the fourpenny Saturday matinees in the Premier Picture Palace or the Coliseum Cinema.
The Gaumont Palace - Wood Green
|Yet another spectacular cinema The programme dates back to the 1930s but what a Grand interior ! The picture top left shows the cinema in 1934 and the picture bottom left shows the cinema when it became the 'Odeon' in the 1980's.
The following photographs show some of th earliest cinemas constructed in Tottenham
|The first photograph is of
the 'Tottenham Pavilion' with a protest group outside. It was once
situated in the High Road close to the location where the Florida was later built.
The 'People's Palace' which was situated in Forster Road close to St Loys Road.
The second photograph shows the same location today. Nearby Chaplin Road was named after
the famous silent movie star.
from How Things Were -1890-1920
recalling how children would not always have the 1d entrance money to the Peoples
Palace cinema in Forster Road, so they would then bunk into the cinema.
|The first photograph shows the location in Bruce Grove today of the former 'Regency' cinema which was later to become a ballroom. The sign can still be seen above the entrance. The second photograph is of the 'Alcazar' cinema in nearby Edmonton. The 'Alcazar' is believed to be one of the first buildings destroyed by bombing in the very first days of the Blitz in 1940.
Cinemas just over the boundary in Edmonton
|We conclude this nostalgic trip around the old cinemas with some views of the 'Regal' and the 'Empire' (later the 'Granada') which were both located in nearby Edmonton. Sadly the Regal has now been replaced by a hideous LIDL store and the old Granada demolished as part of the new Edmonton Green complex.
Article prepared by Alan Swain - Nov 2010