Classic South Croydon
3 Brighton Road,
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Previously operated by: Classic Cinemas (UK)
Architects: Norman Evans
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Swan Electric Theatre, Central Hall, Dome Cinema, Savoy Cinema, Unique Cinema, Tatler Cinema Club
The Swan Electric Theatre opened on 26th November 1910. It had a rather narrow facade, that had a cupola dome on top. By October 1911, it had been taken over by a small South London chain of Central Hall cinemas and re-named the Central Hall. It was re-named Dome Cinema in 1927, but this was short lived and it was closed as a silent cinema.
It re-opened in 1932 as the Savoy Cinema, but closed again in 1933. It was taken over by Sam Seeman in 1934 and was re-modeled by architect Norman Evans in an Art Deco style. It was at this time that the cupola dome was removed from the top of the facade. Sam Seeman re-opened it as the Unique Cinema on 3rd September 1934, screening an ‘old’ film "Viennese Nights" plus the Walt Disney cartoon short "Three Little Pigs". It soon became part of the larger Classic Cinemas Ltd. chain which was operated by Sam Seeman. The Classic Cinemas chain specialised in playing ‘Classic’ Hollywood films.
The Classic Cinema underwent some modernisation in 1962, which stripped out most of the decorative detail in the auditorium. From 4th October 1970, it was re-named Tatler Cinema Club, playing uncensored adult films, and featured live strippers in between the films. This was not a great success in Croydon, and in August 1971, it became the Classic Cinema again, playing its previous fare of Classic Hollywood films. The Classic Cinema closed on 22nd September 1973 with William Holden in "The Wild Bunch". It was the last cinema in the Croydon area to hold a licence to screen nitrate film.
The building remained empty for several years, and was eventually converted into a nightclub/restaurant named Scott’s Dine & Dance. It was given a Tudor style interior, but the Art Deco style ceiling in the auditorium remained. By 2006, it had been converted into a comedy club, named ‘Up the Creek’ on the first floor and a bar/Indian restaurant named ‘Fusia’ on the ground floor.
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