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Thread: The Towers Cinema – Hornchurch – January 2016

  1. #1
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    Default The Towers Cinema – Hornchurch – January 2016



    The History

    The Towers Cinema was built on part of the late Grey Towers Mansion site. The Cinema was built on the southern boundary of the Grey Towers estate, at the west end of Hornchurch High Street.

    The Cinema was commissioned by David J. James - a Brewing Industrialist turned Cinema Impresario. It was designed by Leslie Hagger Kemp (1899-1997) in partnership with Frederick Edward Tasker, a partnership which designed new and renovated existing cinemas for James' independent chain. Opening its doors on 3 August 1935 it provided generous facilities including an auditorium to seat 1799 patrons; a shallow stage with dressing rooms; a luxurious café/ballroom on the first floor that could seat 200; a cosmetics saloon for use by ladies and an ample car park.

    In March 1937 James sold his chain of cinemas for a considerable sum to Eastern Cinemas (GCF) Ltd which were then taken over by the Odeon chain in 1943. The characteristic neon ODEON signage was then applied covering the word Towers (which is cut into the fabric of the building but later restored in 2010). This building converted to a Bingo Hall in 1973 (which it has remained thus far - 2015)

    Although alterations to the foyer and lower auditorium have been made, thankfully many original features still remain. It is believed that the highly ornate coffered ceiling in the café-ballroom remains intact although now boarded to create lower ceilings and currently sub divided into offices. The private boxes haven't been used since the Cinema was converted so have been preserved.

    Leslie Hagger Kemp designed the former Union Cinema in Dunstable, Bedfordshire built in 1936-37 which has achieved Grade II listed status, and he was associated with the Regal in Camberwell built in 1938-39 also listed at Grade II. Apart from cinemas, Kemp and Tasker won the Daily Mail 'Ideal House' competition in 1934 (at the same time they were working on The Towers Building)

    The building was sold to Lidl and was to be demolished to be replaced by a supermarket. Following a campaign to save the building, Havering London Borough Council temporarily protected it in 2015 so Historic England could assess its heritage value.


    The Explore



    Out with [USER=80108]@slayaaaa[/USER] and [USER=46310]@oakley[/USER] on a general mooch around Essex and [USER=46310]@oakley[/USER] mentioned this place and we decided to check it out. We parked up had a look and headed over to the McDonald’s to discuss our plans. Once the sun set we headed over and made out way in. Genuinely a wow place as we walked in, A few lights were on and we quickly found the switches and lit the inside up nicely. It’s a very very lovely building and pretty much intact. Was nice just to sit here have a bite to eat and chill out. Sadly the projectors are long gone, but if you fancy a fight with a couple of over friendly pigeons check out the projector room....

    This place is well worth a visit before it gets stripped.

    Enjoy the pics as always














































  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, Bones out, Conrad, ducatidevil1, flyboys90, HughieD, jsp77, krela, Locksley, Mearing, oldscrote, rockfordstone, Rubex, Safe Breaker, SlimJim, smiler, tazong, The Wombat, thorfrun, UrbanX
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  4. #2
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    Wow what a beauty, really quite something, quality write up and pictures.


    "It's just everyday carry, officer!" SlimJim 2k15

  5. #3
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  6. #4
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    Nice photographs. What a lovely cinema, very little dereliction except a little peely paint. But where was the organ?
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  7. #5
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    Amazing pictures :)
    What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know, goes away in the end.

  8. #6
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    Really cool place! Pity about the cheap supermarket invasion that will lead to it's demise. They're snapping up all the plots in towns everywhere now.
    Guntish Gent

    Pics 'n' Ting


  9. #7
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    Fantastic, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

  10. #8
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    Nice to see so many of the original features still there,Santa must have done a runner and left his costume on the back row!! Great write up and photos.

  11. #9
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    Oh wow, that really is cool! And fantastic photos too :)

  12. #10
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    What a great catch
    Excellent photos
    Black cat exploring company
    & LSD - Leicester Super Derpers

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DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
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