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Thread: Highams Park Regal Cinema – London – June 2017

  1. #1
    Join Date
    August 2014
    Braintree in the essex

    Default Highams Park Regal Cinema – London – June 2017

    The history

    Located close to Higham’s Park Railway Station in North-East London, The Higham’s Park Electric Theatre opened on 1st April 1911. It was designed by architect W.A. Lewis and had a seating capacity of 550. in 1928 it was re-named The Regal Cinema and further improvements were made to the building in 1933.

    In 1935, it was partly rebuilt to the plans of architectural firm Howes & Jackman and it received a new modern Art Deco style facade and entrance foyer. A cafe was also added in the circle foyer along with a Rutt 3Manual/6Ranks organ in the modernised and enlarged auditorium, which now seated 615. The Regal Cinema re-opened on 23rd September 1935 with Irene Dunne in "Sweet Adeline" and W.C. Fields in "It’s A Gift”. Always independently operated, the Regal Cinema was closed on 11th September 1963 with Frank Sinatra in "Some Came Running" and John Bentley in "Escape in the Sun".

    It was converted into an independent bingo club, but this was unsuccessful, and films returned on several nights a week, beginning on 23rd February 1964 with Norman Wisdom in "A Stitch In Time". By April 1964, bingo had been dropped and full time cinema use resumed. The Regal Cinema finally closed on 27th April 1971 with Paul Newman in "Exodus".

    It became a bingo club again, this time using only the circle seating area. The stalls area was used as a snooker hall. Later, the bingo operation ceased and Regals London Snooker Club operated in the auditorium, while a bar operated from the former foyer. The Rutt organ is now housed in the St Albans Organ Theatre, St Albans, Hertfordshire, where it is played on a regular basis.

    In August 2014 the owners of the building (a security firm) proposed plans to convert the building into their head office. However, in March 2015 they decided it was too small, and proposals were made to convert the building into a 50-seat cinema. By May 2016 nothing more had been heard of this proposal and the building sat vacant.

    The Explore

    Been after this one for a while and whilst out and about in the area with @slayaaaa and SQ we decided to have a look. For once we struck lucky and found a way in. The excitement was off the scale as having checked this a number of times we never expected to actually get in.

    The excitement soon died as we realised the place was not what we expected. All of the original fixtures and fittings had gone and we couldn’t get to the art deco frontage. It appeared to have been bricked up crudely from the inside and covered with plasterboard to make the back wall of the new snooker club.

    While we were having a relaxing game of pool I decided to stick my head up through the suspended ceiling and see what was going on up there. The excitement returned a little and we could see how the place may have looked in its heyday. The red walls and gold fittings still remained above the ceiling but had all been stripped and decorated over below.

    It wasn’t the easiest place to photograph so sorry for the bad pics


  2. Thanks given by: andylen, ExplorerX, Hugh Jorgan, HughieD, jmcjnr, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, prettyvacant71, psykie, rockfordstone, Rubex, smiler, stu8fish, thorfrun
  4. #2
    Join Date
    February 2015
    Aberdeen, Scotland


    That place looks okay. The tables look to be in good condition. I did think that you might not photograph above the false ceiling, but you managed and there it is the missing art deco features.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  5. Thanks given by: mockney reject
  6. #3
    Join Date
    April 2012


    Surreal that!

  7. Thanks given by: mockney reject
  8. #4
    Join Date
    October 2010
    Lost in Cornwall


    Nice One MR Thanks
    Last edited by smiler; 9th Dec 17 at 19:15. Reason: Numpty

  9. Thanks given by: mockney reject
  10. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015


    Nice one Mockney Reject :)

  11. Thanks given by: mockney reject

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