Lewisham's lost cinemas


The Brockley Jack Film Club has digitally recreated the lost cinemas of Lewisham, including the Ritz that used to occupy the MOT garage site on Coulgate Street (above).


It's a fascinating piece. Click here to see more.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep,went to see the last concert at the Odeon 1981,The Who.

Anonymous said...

I remember Studio 6/7,you could hear the trains rumble past.

Anonymous said...

More of this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

Saw the Texas Chainsaw massacre at 6 & 7. Happy days.

Coney said...

Another 30 years we'll be seeing the same mocked up pictures but libraries.

Lou Baker said...

Yeah - those great pieces of architectural heritage that are Lewisham's libraries. Not sure which is worse New Cross library or Blackheath. Both pits.

Coney said...

The point made was about the loss of public spaces rather than the loss of pretty buildings. The same applies to pubs, churches...things change.

Howson Road said...

What a striking picture, seems sad to have lost such a beautiful venue...that space these days is a shithole in comparison.

Ed said...

I am deveasted that this is no longer there; what a shame.

Tamsin said...

That is a heap impressive bit of work...

@ Lou - there are libraries and libraries. The ARt House, Crofton Park libary and the increasingly shabby music place on New Cross Road are ex- or potentially ex- libraries that are/were lovely (if inconvenient) buildings.

Anonymous said...

Just heard Barry Norman say that in 1946 there were 1.6 Billion cinema visits.

Brockley Nick said...

Before anyone gets too misty eyed, let's just remember that anyone who hankers after anything than a car dealership in the middle of our town centre is a fascist elitist, who doesn't understand real Brockley.

old farts cousin said...

I prefer the MOT garage and murals to be honest

Anonymous said...

Not sure where that leaves Lou?

Lou Baker said...

@tamsin:

Plenty of old buildings are lovely. Plenty of old ones are not.

And, actually, some new buildings are pretty lovely too.

Old is not necessarily good, and new is not necessarily bad. And vice versa.

It is a genuine shame that Lewisham doesn't have a cinema but the reality is that it is exceptionally difficult for cinemas to survive unless they're a multiplex and where could we fit one of those?

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou - I agree with all of that. An independent cinema somewhere in the area would be great, but in the mean time we have film clubs like Brockley Jack filling the gap, which is all good.

However, the handsome building that used to sit on Coulgate Street could have found new life in another role.

Anonymous said...

Fuck real Brockley then!!

Anonymous said...

Lewisham is 1 of 2 London Boroughs that doesn't have a cinema.

max said...

It's actually not too hard to fit a small multiplex in many decently sized buildings.
The business model of City Screens is completely developed around this concept.

Here are their requirement to consider investing (from their website):
Location Requirements:
- 10-20,000 sq ft to accommodate 3-5 screens.
- Minimum ground floor of c 2,000 sqft.
- Remaining space can be basement or upper floors.
- Floor to ceiling span of c 4m - 8m.
- Town centre locations and London neighbourhoods
with catchments of more than 50,000.
- Leasehold or freehold.

Lou Baker said...

@nick

You just agreed with all of what I said. Damn. Have a drink dear boy and ponder what you've become ....

@max

Trouble is we are surrounded by excellent multiplexes so anything here has to be decent to survive. My particular favourite is the one at the Dome, handily accessed by that pesky East London Line. D'oh.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there wont be any Libraries soon either.

Brockley Jack Film Club said...

Thanks for your comments. We will publish more photomontages of lost cinemas on our website in the coming weeks, covering Catford, Lee, Forest Hill, Downham and Sydenham... We are not in some kind of nostalgic trip but thought it would be a way of reminding locals that we are one of two only London councils without a cinema (the other being Waltham Forest). In the meantime, we have also launched a new website covering the activities of community-led cinema venues in South-East London at http://selondonfilmclubs.wordpress.com.

max said...

Well done Brockley Jack, really worth reminding sometimes.

Lou, if City Screens decides to put the money into something they make sure that quality is part of the package.
My favourite cinema is Greenwich Picturehouse, that they run brilliantly, and much more civilized than your average multiplex.

If someone would bring to their attention an opportunity that fulfils those requirements around here they would certainly consider.

Coney said...

Waltham Forest has a Bollywood cinema serving lovers of that genre in Walthamstow

Anonymous said...

@max the perfect location would be the royal mail depo

Ed said...

I have suggested before that there is an esoteric truth and beauty to much of what Lou says...

Tressilliana said...

Greenwich Picturehouse is lovely. For one thing, your shoes don't stick to the carpet as it isn't saturated in Coke.

max said...

Looking at City Screens requirements I think the best location for a cinema in Lewisham would be the Ladywell Pool site, it's by far better located than Lewisham Centre or Loampit Vale, and once the Loampit Vale pool opens it becomes available.

The Council has not yet developed a plan for that plot and in my opinion it's imperative that something that keeps the area alive is planned for that plot. Even for the sake of street safety.

It's in easy reach of anyone living in Lewisham/Brockley/Hither Green/Catford and as such has the greatest potential and should be put forward for this use.

The Playtower could have also been a candidate, but the horrendous cost of refurbishment makes it less so. It's also a bit out of the main road maybe to make it attractive as a cinema.

Lou Baker said...

It's wonderful how all the uber lefties are voting for the Picturehouse as their favourite cinema. Because that's not at all pompous and pretentious.

Meanwhile, those of us slated as elitist are happy to mix with the great unwashed on the Coke splashed floors of the Dome and Peckham Plex. That's proper class.

Anonymous said...

Lou it's probably cos it's the nearest cinema to Brock.

max said...

No, Lou is right, us lefty elitists like the Picturehouse because from the bar we can look down on people.

Anonymous said...

To be fair Lou, I've always thought of you as more of a pompous twat. An opinionated, yet ill-informed reactionary. A pub bore, a disruptive, disolusioned influence on anything and everyone. In short, I'm glad you don't work for me.

Anonymous said...

Captain of industrry are you 22:19 Anon?

Anonymous said...

I also saw the Who at Lewisham Odeon.

Have Lewisham Gateway definately dropped their plans for a multiplex?

Or is the plan to have a drive-in one using a car park and those without a car sitting on the grassy knoll?

Ed said...

Is calling someone a twat on an blog for grown ups not rather reactionary? Know and own your hipocrisy people!

Ed said...

And to think I studied classics - oops!

emmajem said...

What an interesting piece of work. As a massive fan of old historic architecture I was reaching for the kleenex.

Local cinema kicks these days I obtain from both multiplexes and independents. However, I find you can't beat the Apollo on Lower Regent Street. The high prices ensure on the whole I can watch a film whilst not being surrounded by meddlesome teenagers throwing popcorn at me :)

Brockley Jack Film Club said...

Walthamstaw had a Bollywood cinema for a short time but I understand it closed in 2001. The building is still standing and there is a local campaign to save the EMD Cinema.

Raven said...

Great post. There's something magical about the history of old cinemas. (A bit off your patch but we've been looking at Eltham's old cinemas on my blog)

Anonymous said...

Bring back the Ritz!!!

Is that where the MOT centre is?

Brockley Jack Film Club said...

Yes, the Ritz used to stand where the MOT centre now is.

For an animated before/after picture of the Ritz as well as other cinemas that vanished throughout the borough of Lewisham (including Deptford, Lee, Downham, Sydenham, Forest Hill and Catford), we have created a special page on our website:

http://brockleyjackfilmclub.co.uk/lewishams-lost-cinemas/

Anonymous said...

What a great building! Criminal to have let it go.

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