More Lost London Cinemas


The stunning art deco Odeon Woolwich was another haunt of mine as a child. The building was outlined in neon at night and its interior was every bit as spectacular. It has now been converted into another bonkers West African church. Sorry, ‘bonkers’ isn’t really accurate enough to describe the drivel-spouting preachers who leech from the credulous innocents at various converted cinemas across London. Nice building, although apparently the ‘church’ is letting it fall to bits. The council will probably turn it into a pole dancing bar soon.

8 comments on “More Lost London Cinemas”

  1. FabienneT says:

    You know what? I think I’d prefer to have a pole dancing club rather than a church for nutters. Why do residents associations always oppose Pole dancing clubs but never weird cults/religious associations? Is one more PC than the other?

    The way London is being destroyed is heart breaking, really, its history obliterated by people who don’t care, because they think that culture and history don’t make money – and then most of the time, the owners/developers are not British and therefore don’t care about the history of the place (just in case: I am not British myself, so I am not being xenophobic or anything!).
    Cultural places are being replaced by retail premises, retail premises and oh a few luxury flats and/or hotels, and more retail premises. *sigh*

  2. Colin Pierce says:

    I agree, I really do. I love some old buildings. I love some new ones too and I despair when I see something so beautiful go to ruin. Mind you, I despair when I see road signs covered in that green, mouldy dust. When I am properly old and mental I plan on carrying a bucket of bleach and water around with me and cleaning any such sign I come across.

    But back to the old cinemas and other architectural delights that are falling into disrepair – what would you have done with them? Local authorities just aren’t going to fund them, there’s no money, and they have no viability as cinemas. I am all for a rant about the disgrace of what has been allowed to happen to them but it comes with a side-order of reality – what would I actually do about it? What’s the solution?

    Any ideas? If not, then the churches and developers can do what they want because we haven’t come up with a viable alternative.

  3. Cid says:

    There’s another mad church in a building that used to be a cinema (or perhaps a gig venue?) just west of Finsbury Park tube. “Universal Church of the Kingdom of God”, it says here.

  4. Gretta says:

    I love Art Deco places, and this one looks gorgeous. I just Googled to see if I could find some pics of its innards and its neon-ness back in the day, and if it sent me to the right places, it looks even better. I could wallow for hours on end in places like that(though preferably not in the company of either strange religious people or pole dancers). Couldn’t find any colour pics of the Odeon in all its neon glory, however.

  5. Lisa says:

    At least they haven’t torn it down. Most of the wonderful old cinemas in the US have been torn down. Movie goers prefer the multiplex 20’s in nondescrept shopping centers.

  6. Helen Martin says:

    True, Lisa, mostly because there’s lots of parking at shopping centres. I remember the campaign that was launched here to save a theatre and turn it into a -wait for it – theatre! They did some modification and some restoration and there is now live theatre in the old movie one -also art deco. We’ve lost a lot over the years, a lot in the sixties, including our opera house. The neighbourhood theatres are all going, although one is now an East Indian movie house and one has been used by an auction house. I really don’t know what the answer is to loss of function, which is the real reason public places disappear.

  7. Anne Fernie says:

    Up here in Manchester we had the same at an old cinema that was firstly a bingo hall then a crazy church. As a result, emblazoned across it was the unintended slogan ‘Bingo Jesus’…..

  8. Gretta says:

    Bingo Jesus. Excellent. The Church would pull a lot more punters if they started their sermons with ‘Eyes down and looking’ and you had the opportunity to shout ‘Line!’ and win a fiver or a box of Quality Street every Sunday.

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