Regent Cinema

181-183 High Street,
London, SW17 0SZ

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Additional Info

Architects: Stephen H. Egan, William S. Emden

Firms: Emden & Egan

Functions: Auto Showroom

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Kings Hall Picture Palace, Gaiety Picture House

Nearby Theaters

Regent Cinema

Located in the south London district of Tooting. The Kings Hall Picture Palace was built in 1909, possibly opening late that year or by early-1910, and was thought to be the oldest purpose built cinema building still in existance in the U.K. The exact opening date is not known at present, but it is known that the second cinema to open in Tooting was the Central Hall Picture Palace on 14th October 1910 (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Original seating capacity for the Kings Hall was given as 850 which could have included bench seating where patrons were squeezed in. In the early days it was operated by John Thomas Hallinan and by 1918 J.S. Holland held the Cinematograph Licence. In late-1921 ownership had passed on to Messrs. Konskier, Flatto & Woolfe who gave the cinema a new name Gaiety Picture House. A Mr S. Schulman took over the operation in around 1928 and it was re-named Regent Cinema. Variety acts were advertised as part of the programme in 1931. Another owner William Hinds took over on 25th October 1935 and it had been equipped with a RCA sound system. Variety acts on the stage formed part of the programme. By 1937 it was listed in that year’s edition of the Kinematograph Yearbook as ‘Closed’.

This was only for a short period as yet another owner Alexander de R.S. Redmond re-opened the Regent Cinema in around 1938 and it continued to operate through the war years, finally closing as a cinema in 1946.

The building became a confectionary store (possibly using the foyer area only) and in later years this low single storey entrance area was demolished and the remaining auditorium has been in use as a car salesroom. In 2007 plans were being prepared for the building to be demolished to make way for residential units. It was demolished in September/October 2013.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

JohnGn on June 19, 2018 at 10:52 pm

I have found in the Norwood News dated 25th October 1935 that the Regent has re-opened under new management, the new proprietors being Hammer Entertainments Ltd. of Shepherds Bush. I recall reading that Hammer Films were formed in 1935 by Will Hinds who performed in the music hall under the name of Will Hammer, so it seems reasonable to suppose that he is the William Hinds mentioned above.

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