Gaumont Dalston

12 Dalston Lane,
London, E8 3AZ

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Biocolour Picture Theatres, Gaumont-British-Picture Corp., Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: Robert Cromie, Frederick Edward Jones, Charles Long, Oswald Cane Wylson

Firms: Wylson & Long

Styles: Greek Revival

Previous Names: Dalston Theatre of Varieties, Dalston Picture House

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Gaumont Dalston

The building opened as Dalston Circus in 1886 with 1,030 seats and it was promoted by Alfred Barrett Brandreth. However it was not successful and had became a variety theatre under the name North London Colloseum Theatre in 1887 aka North London Colloseum and Amphitheatre, North London Colloseum and National Hippodrome and London Colloseum and National Amphitheatre, all indicating that it was like a circus configuration or theatre in the round. By 1894 it was operating as the Dalston Colloseum.

In 1897-1898 it was re-built to the plans of the noted theatre architectural firm:Wylson & Long. With a capacity given as 3,515 (possibly including standing room) it re-opened on 25th September 1898 as the Dalston Theatre of Varieties. It was promoted by Milton Bode and Edward Compton who operated the theatre until 1914, when James Langdon Lee took over until his lease expired in October 1919.

In 1920 Biocolor Picture Theatres purchased the building and architect F. Edward Jones, assisted by Robert Cromie, re-designed the building as a cinema. It opened on 6th December 1920 with Sessue Hayakawa in “The Illustrious Prince”. Seating was provided for 2,157 in stalls and balcony levels. Unusually stage facilities were not retained and the projection box was located in the rear stalls, a cafe was an added amenity. The main entrance on Dalston Lane was part of the original Dalston Circus building while the auditorium walls were retained from Wylson & Long’s 1897 building and and raised higher.

In 1927 Biocolor Picture Theatres Ltd. were taken over by Gaumont British Theatres in November 1926 and they operated it successfully for many years as the Dalston Picture House. In 1951 it was re-named Gaumont Theatre and operated under this name until it was closed by the Rank Organisation on 19th November 1960 with Donald Sinden in “The Siege of Sydney Street” and Michael Wilding in “Hello London”.

It became a warehouse storage space for Tesco supermarkets, then was a car auction sales room for many years. The front foyer section was bricked off and operated as a nightclub called the ‘Four Aces Night Club’. Dereliction had set in within the main auditorium and plaster had dropped off the ceiling revealing just the roof girders. This area was used as a nightclub called Roseberry’s from 1994 until closing around 1998.

Despite objections from the Theatres Trust, the Georgian Group and the Cinema Theatre Association and the best efforts of local campaigners who squatted within the building, the Gaumont was demolished in February 2007. Housing has been built on the site in a new building which also contains a library and Hackney Archives, which is almost adjacent to the new Dalston Junction Overground Railway Station.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 25, 2007 at 4:12 am

The Gaumont was demolished in February 2006, despite protests from campaigners to save it.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 25, 2007 at 4:14 am

Sorry for the typo, the demolition was February 2007.

woody on March 26, 2007 at 1:22 am

photo from spring 2006 in the last days of the protesters who were trying to save the building
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 23, 2007 at 5:50 am

Details and photgraphs of the February 2007 demoltion of the Gaumont Dalston:

SpurredoninDublin on October 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

I remember watching Errol Flynn in “Robin Hood” and “The Lady and the Tramp” in a double bill here. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old.

Round about 1987 I was working on the then disused forecourt of Dalston Junction station, and parked my car opposite the exit that was in Roseberry Place. I noticed the door was open and stuck my head in. The place was now pretty decrepit and there was a horrible smell of exhaust fumes from the car auctions combined with the strongest odour of damp I had ever experienced. That took a lot away from my happier memory as a child.

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