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Report - The Towers Cinema – Hornchurch – January 2016

Discussion in 'Theatres and Cinemas' started by mockney reject, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    The History


    The Towers Cinema was built on part of the late Grey Towers Mansion site. The Cinema was built on the southern boundary of the Grey Towers estate, at the west end of Hornchurch High Street.

    The Cinema was commissioned by David J. James - a Brewing Industrialist turned Cinema Impresario. It was designed by Leslie Hagger Kemp (1899-1997) in partnership with Frederick Edward Tasker, a partnership which designed new and renovated existing cinemas for James' independent chain. Opening its doors on 3 August 1935 it provided generous facilities including an auditorium to seat 1799 patrons; a shallow stage with dressing rooms; a luxurious café/ballroom on the first floor that could seat 200; a cosmetics saloon for use by ladies and an ample car park.

    In March 1937 James sold his chain of cinemas for a considerable sum to Eastern Cinemas (GCF) Ltd which were then taken over by the Odeon chain in 1943. The characteristic neon ODEON signage was then applied covering the word Towers (which is cut into the fabric of the building but later restored in 2010). This building converted to a Bingo Hall in 1973 (which it has remained thus far - 2015)

    Although alterations to the foyer and lower auditorium have been made, thankfully many original features still remain. It is believed that the highly ornate coffered ceiling in the café-ballroom remains intact although now boarded to create lower ceilings and currently sub divided into offices. The private boxes haven't been used since the Cinema was converted so have been preserved.

    Leslie Hagger Kemp designed the former Union Cinema in Dunstable, Bedfordshire built in 1936-37 which has achieved Grade II listed status, and he was associated with the Regal in Camberwell built in 1938-39 also listed at Grade II. Apart from cinemas, Kemp and Tasker won the Daily Mail 'Ideal House' competition in 1934 (at the same time they were working on The Towers Building)

    The building was sold to Lidl and was to be demolished to be replaced by a supermarket. Following a campaign to save the building, Havering London Borough Council temporarily protected it in 2015 so Historic England could assess its heritage value.


    The Explore


    Out with @slayaaaa and @oakley on a general mooch around Essex and @oakley mentioned this place and we decided to check it out. We parked up had a look and headed over to the McDonald’s to discuss our plans. Once the sun set we headed over and made out way in. Genuinely a wow place as we walked in, A few lights were on and we quickly found the switches and lit the inside up nicely. It’s a very very lovely building and pretty much intact. Was nice just to sit here have a bite to eat and chill out. Sadly the projectors are long gone, but if you fancy a fight with a couple of over friendly pigeons check out the projector room....

    This place is well worth a visit before it gets stripped.

    Enjoy the pics as always

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  2. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Very nice. Plenty to see in here by the look of it.
     
    mockney reject likes this.
  3. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Very nice.....well done chaps :D
    Great bit of history and pics :thumb
     
  4. Techwreckie

    Techwreckie 28DL Regular User
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    Nice, not seen this before, need to check it out!
     
  5. crazyjonhere

    crazyjonhere 28DL Full Member
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    What a great site just a dam shame places like this could not be used as music venues etc it would be a fine place for that
     
  6. kill yr idols

    kill yr idols 28DL Member
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    nice place and pics!! any signs of security?
     
  7. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    Did you see triple mercury arc rectifier cabinet with a VERY annoying padlock on the door?!

    How those balloons are still there I don't know!
     
    mockney reject likes this.
  8. johnparker92

    johnparker92 28DL Member
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    Woow... Very nice
     
  9. Gabe

    Gabe 28DL Regular User
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    Pic please, I wanna see that
     
  10. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    We never got to see those :(
     
  11. Mr_T

    Mr_T 28DL Full Member
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  12. 12Adam24

    12Adam24 28DL Member
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    Whats the security like ?

    How easy is the access
     
  13. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    Security was quite tough, but once we gave them mcflurry's from the nearby McDonalds they let us in via the secret tunnel in the back of the car park.......
     
    Dave563 and fester like this.
  14. Paradox

    Paradox 28DL Regular User
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    Proper nice pics there :thumb
     
    mockney reject likes this.
  15. scotty markfour

    scotty markfour 28DL Regular User
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    cracking report n pics ......what a find !
     
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