281 Barking Road,
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Firms: Andrews & Peascod
Previous Names: Empire Kinema
The Empire Kinema opened in July 1914, and was one of the early cinemas to be operated by Alexander Bernstein, who went on to create the Granada Theatres Ltd. chain. It was a large cinema for its time, with all seating arranged on a single floor. Alterations were made in 1920 and again in 1928, when it became part of Denman Theatres Ltd. chain, a subsidiary of Gaumont British Theatres. In July 1929, they employed architect George Coles to carry out more alterations and a Christie 2Manual/5Ranks organ was installed. Although it was owned by Denham/Gaumont, it continued to be operated by the Bernstein/Granada chain. In 1930, architect W. Sydney Trent made alterations for sound films to be screened. The Kinema was closed on 23rd May 1936 and demolished.
A new 2,468 seat Granada Theatre was built on the site (still owned at the time by Gaumont), which opened on 30th November 1936, and closed on 9th November 1974 to become a bingo club, which closed in November 2014 (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures).
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