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The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Why so many UK cinemas
closed in the mid-late 1900s

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As people began to buy televisions for their homes, they went out less. So cinemas had to adapt or go out of business. The major change was to split single cinemas up into smaller ones, so offering a larger range of programmes. However many cinemas simply closed.

Picture palaces/cinemas which were once (in the mid 1900s) within easy travelling distance

The following cinemas were within easy reach of Edgware, my home town, when I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s.

Edgware: Ritz   Definitely the classiest of them all as regards interior decor, decoration etc, and possibly also the largest; it also had The ABC Minors; and its organ was in regular use.

Burnt Oak: Gaumont and Savoy   More or less the same as regards size, interior, etc. etc.

Colindale: Odeon   Ditto regards size, interior, etc.

Hendon Central: Gaumont    Ditto.

Old Hendon: Odeon    Ditto.

Mill Hill: The 'Flea Pit' as we called it, which I think was called The Capitol.  Much smaller and, as far as I remember it, did not have a balcony. You could be unlucky to have a 6" diameter cylindrical roof strut/column partially impairing your view!

I think there was also one in Hendon near Bell Lane, but I don't remember the name and I don't think it showed the latest films. It was presumably quite small.

Tony Woods

All are gone. Anyone from Edgware wishing to go to a cinema now (2011) has to travel to Golders Green.

David Arnold

The Edgware Ritz closed, was gutted, and was turned into flats. Its shell was kept, as can be seen from the photographs. A new glassy front was added.

The Ritz cinema, Edgware while it was still in operation, small

The Ritz cinema, Edgware in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Photo reproduced according to the terms and conditions of Flickr.

Old cinema building turned into flats

The Ritz cinema building gutted and refurbished into flats. Photo taken in 2008, courtesy of Tony Woods.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer
webmaster

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