Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Last night I went to a gig at The Troxy in Commercial Road, Limehouse ('the good'), narrowly avoiding the unpleasantness that was taking place just a few tube stops away at nearby Upton Park ('the bad'). I went to see Wilco, who were excellent, but that's not the reason behind this post.

The Troxy is a 1930’s art deco Grade II listed building. Originally designed as a cinema, it was renowned for its large revolving stage, Wurlitzer Organ and opulent decor which included chandeliers and large sweeping staircases.

The Troxy had live gigs in those days too, but then the headliners were Vera Lynn and the Andrew Sisters.

After suffering damage during the war, the Troxy closed in 1960, re opening in 1963 as the London Opera Centre, and was subsequently converted into a Bingo Hall which remained it's fate until 2006.

It has now been restored to it's former glory by the present owners My pictures don't do it justice, but might give you a bit of an idea ......

and then, having seen the magnificent job that has been done to that beautiful old building, I'm afraid we come to 'the ugly'.
This 'THEN and NOW' picture was in the Daily Mail in an article about old cinemas, and my Mum sent it to me because it was our (then) local cinema in Chingford, where I used to go to 'Saturday morning pictures' and before that, where my Mum and Dad used to go to see film stars when they really WERE stars.
Who possibly thought it was acceptable to grant planning permission for this great Picture Palace to be turned into a bland- looking supermarket?
If I ever win the lottery (unlikely, I suppose, as I don't buy a ticket) I am going to have it transformed back to how it was, complete with usherettes, with a 'B' movie as well as the main feature. And then in the interval, the aforesaid usherettes will be back selling choc-ices and tubs from a tray, hanging around their necks.
And they say nostalgia is a thing of the past.


  1. So sad to see the demise of such wonderful buildings like your picture palace... and the whole experience that went with them. Are we getting old? Sorry to have missed you last week.

  2. Due to that erroneous full point I thought you were saying that Wilco were bad. Phew!
    Re old cinemas it astounds me how some fab old buildings have been pulled down or ripped out. Tonight I am going to the Odeon in Camden Parkway which use to be fabulous inside but these days since it was gutted and refitted it's as bland as a bland thing. Nuff said.
    Here's my collection of old cinema buildings and theatres:
    and this site is really handy too for finding out info on theatres and cinemas:

  3. That brings back memories my lovely aunt kit lived there. We used to get off the bus out side the Troxie and when they changed the name the bus conductor used to shout out the London opera house and everyone on the bus used to shout back the Troxie.
    There used to be a charity shop opposite it was The seaman’s mission, I was given sixpence and spent hours in there deciding what to spend it on, I can remember it was always a book or jigsaw puzzle and still had change for sweets. Happy days.

  4. Hi, what a great blast from the past! I used to go to Saturday morning pictures when they had usherettes and B movies. Do you remember Casey Jones and The Flashing Blade? (That's not a band, btw!!!!)

    Thanks so much for your comments on my textiley blog. I'll be back there again very soon, have just posted on LSR

    BFN have a good weekend coming up!


  5. Hi, I am living in this building now. You can not imagine how i regret that the beautiful Odeon was Demolished for build a new ugly something... So SAD!
    And now this Poundstretcher supermarket with a block of uninspired flats on the top belongs to orthodox people.

    best for you!