Cinema / Local history / London

Open London: History on your Doorstep

A few weeks ago the city hosted Open London.  A weekend where the doors to many inaccessible buildings open to allow Londoners prying eyes inside.  Rather than go to central we decided to explore locally.

In our neighbourhood there looms an imposing building which operates as a bingo hall.  D and I have been curious about entering for some time now, ever since Jen sent me a link about the grand interior.  We attempted to go in before however if you are not a member (I’m sure no one under the age of 60 is) you will get shooed out.

To be able to go inside without membership was an opportunity we could not pass up.  Once we arrived we were greeted with the above scene.  Which was meant to recreate what it would have been like to go to the cinema in the 30s.  Here is a short video I’ve that can give you more info about the Tooting Granada.

We were ushered (no pun intended) around the vast bingo hall and told about the history of the Granada Tooting as well as a bit about the history of cinema in the country.  There are many cinemas throughout the country that are applying to be listed in an attempt to preserve this history.

The outside of the building is hugely deceiving as it is just plain white with a gaudy sign indicating bingo is played inside.  Inside views from the balcony are really spectacular and I could imagine people coming here back in the day well dressed for a fun night on the town.

D and I had friends who ventured into central that weekend but because of the long queues they didn’t actually get to see the inside of any of the places they wanted to.  So here is to exploring locally, and apparently to bingo as it has allowed this piece of history to be preserved.

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10 thoughts on “Open London: History on your Doorstep

  1. It’s GREAT to know that Open London isn’t just about central London. This makes me wanna go next year, as close to home as possible. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, what a fabulous old place and how lovely that you were able ot go inside. It is a great pity that it isn’t used as a cinema anymore! Imagine, many of the people who go there to play bingo must have been among the original patrons of the cinema. Oh, the things they must have seen!

    • That is a really good point Em, some of the patrons probably did use the cinema in its prime. It is a fantastic building and I am happy that it was preserved rather than destroyed and made into a grocery store as was one of the plans for it.

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