Following our earlier post about cinemas in Lewisham, we did a bit of digging and have created an interactive map of Lewisham, showing the locations of former cinema venues in the borough.
We are indebted to local historian Ken George, who published two very informative and richly illustrated booklets about the history of cinemas in Lewisham, Two Sixpennies Please: Lewisham’s Early Cinemas and The Big Five: Lewisham’s Super Cinemas. We are also grateful to the Lewisham local history and archives centre as well as other websites and blogs which have helped us in the creation of the map.
And since we are going down memory lane, here is a photomontage of what Brockley would look like today if the Ritz Cinema were still standing:
The Ritz on Coulgate Road, Brockley
The Ritz originally opened on 27 September 1913 as the Brockley Picture Theatre. It had a capacity of 700 and tickets were priced at 3d. (then the cost of half a dozen of eggs) and 6d. The cinema was later renamed the Brockley Palladium, the Giralda, the New Palladium and finally the Ritz. On 2 December 1929, the cinema showed its first talkie, The Broadway Melody. After changing hands several times, it finally closed in 1956 and was later demolished. The site is now occupied by a garage and MOT centre.
A number of cinemas were simply named fater the locality in which they were built and local people tended to think of them as ‘their cinemas’. The Brockley Cinema was no exception to that rule… The Brockley News for October 1913 stated ‘Daintily served teas are provided and everything is done to make visitors comfortable. The result is they go again and again!’ For the patrons’ further delight, the Waldovski string band was engaged ‘at enormous expense’, which was taking a chance, as no music licence had been applied for, or given…
(Extract from ‘Two Sixpennies Please‘: Lewisham’s Early Cinemas by Ken George)