Monday, 17 April 2017

That first cinema at the top of Eltham High Street

This is the Eltham Cinema and was on the corner of the High Street and Westmount Road.

Eltham Cinema, circa 1913
It was opened in 1913 and demolished in 1968 which means I must have seen it countless times on my way to school at Crown Woods but even now it does not register with me.

I can’t be sure but I am guessing it survived as a Picture House until the big plush cinemas further down the High Street, and in Well Hall offered a bigger and comfortable experience.

And until now that was about all I knew, but yesterday I came across The Kinematograph Year Book, Program, Diary and Directory 1914, which is packed with everything from a list of all the cinemas in 1914 with information about this new and exciting form of entertainment along with lots of adverts.

And from the book I now know that its proprietor was a Mr Robert Frederick Bean who was listed in 1913 at 4 Everest Road.  A few years earlier he was in Brockley describing himself as a manufacturer’s agent for lace.  He was 31, had been married for three years and had two children and employed a nurse and a housemaid.

I wish I knew more about them but that is about it although they do seem to have moved around a bit living in Lewisham as well as Brockley and Eltham.

In time we will learn more and perhaps also a bit more about the cinema which sadly had no listing for the number of people it could seat.

And Tricia had found out more, "it had 1 screen and seated 400  people. It was built in 1912 opened 1913 and closed 1937.

Pictures; Eltham Cinema, courtesy of Thisiseltham, and advert from The Kinematograph Year Book, 1914, page 43


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