144 The Broadway,
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Previous Names: Elite Picture Palace, Elite Cinema
Located in the southwest London district of Wimbledon. The Elite Picture Palace opened on 7th February 1920. It was designed by architect Lt. Col. James E. Adamson. The name ‘Elite’ was inscribed in stone at the top of the building and the brick and stone façade had a semi-circular ‘bow’ shaped extension in the centre which contained the main entrance and windows above. Inside the auditorium seating was provided for 1,005. There was a small organ which was manufactured by a company named Reeves.
In 1925 a new organ was installed, a Christie 3Manual/7Rank theatre organ, which was opened by Steff Langston. In 1927 it was taken over by the J.F. Emery Circuit, but they only operating it for a year. In 1928 it was taken over by Lou Morris and the cinema was enlarged to the plans of architect Robert Cromie and it now had an increase of 280 extra seats giving a total seating capacity of 1,285 when it re-opened in September 1928. It was equipped with a Christie 3 manual 7 ranks organ.
It was closed for re-decoration in July 1931, re-opening on 3rd August 1931 with Claudette Colbert in “Manslaughter”. By 1933 it was operated by London & Southern Super Cinemas Ltd. In October 1935, the Elite Cinema was sold to the large chain of Associated British Cinemas (ABC).
ABC closed the Elite Cinema in mid-summer 1964 and the auditorium was completely re-constructed to the plans of their house architect C. ‘Jack’ Foster. Metal cladding was attached to the façade and the central ‘bow’ section was given a glazed appearance. It re-opened as the ABC on 12th September 1964 with Cliff Richard in “Wonderful Life”. Seating was now provided for 1,030.
The ABC closed on 26th February 1983 with Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman”. The building was boarded up and was eventually demolished during March-May 1985.
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