Mile End Empire Theatre
93-95 Mile End Road,
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Architects: Frank Matcham
Previous Names: Paragon Music Hall, Paragon Theatre of Varieties
Located in the east London district of Mile End, close to Stepney Green Tube Station. Originally in 1848 on the site was the Eagle Public House, which was enlarged to become Lusby’s Summer & Winter Palace, before it was Lusby’s Music Hall.
In 1885, it was re-built to the plans of noted theatre architect Frank Matcham and opened as the 2,000 seat Paragon Music Hall. There was standing room provided for another 1,000 patrons.
By 1910, it had been re-named Paragon Theatre of Varieties, and films were being screened as part of the variety programme. From 30th March 1912 it was taken over by Alexander Bernstein and was re-named Mile End Empire Theatre.
By December 1913, it was in use as a variety theatre and cinema. By November 1923, it was operating as a full time cinema by the Clavering Circuit.
Taken over by the United Picture Theatres chain from January 1928, it was sold to an independent operator in 1934. Taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in 1936, they closed the Mile End Empire on 3rd April 1938.
It was demolished and ABC built and opened a new Empire Cinema on 12th June 1939. Designed in an Art Deco style by their in-house architect, it became the ABC and today operates as the 5-screen Genesis Cinema (and has its own page on Cinema Treasures).
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