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Theatres in Putney, London

The Hippodrome Theatre - The Palace Theatre / Electric Pavilion / Blue Hall / Gaumont / Odeon Cinema - Putney in 1956

 

The Putney Hippodrome, Felsham Road, Putney

Putney Hippodrome

Above - The Putney Hippodrome.

Poster for the Putney Hippodrome for May the 13th 1912 - Courtesy Colin Charman whose Grandmother, Little Ena Dayne, was on the Bill for that week. The Putney Hippodrome Theatre was constructed in 1906 and designed by Frederick W. Hingston who also designed the Kilburn Empire Theatre the same year. The Hippodrome was designed as a Variety Theatre with an auditorium constructed on three levels, Stalls, Dress Circle, and Gallery, with 4 boxes and an original seating capacity of some 1,641 people.

Right - A Poster for the Putney Hippodrome for May the 13th 1912 - Courtesy Colin Charman whose Grandmother, Little Ena Dayne, was on the Bill for that week.

The Theatre was taken over by United Picture Theatres in 1924 who began showing films in the Theatre by 1928. Gaumont British Cinemas took over UPC in 1930 and consequently the Hippodrome too. However, in 1935 ABC took over the Theatre for a short time before it was taken over by an independent operator in 1938.

In December 1940 the Theatre was closed for a short period when Odeon took it over, they reopened it in February 1941 and ran it until 1961 with a final showing of the films 'Cinderfella' and 'Lucky Jim'.

The Theatre then remained dark and derelict until its final demolition in 1975. However, before its demise in 1973 it was used as the location for parts of the films 'Sitting Target' and 'Theatre of Blood'.

After its demolition the site of the Putney Hippodrome was used for housing.

Programme for the Putney Hippodrome

Above - A Variety Programme for the Putney Hippodrome

A visitor to the site, Ted Dann, says:- 'I was a Projectionist here for a number of years, and knew it had been owned by the three leading Circuits in turn over a period, but when I joined it in 1942, it was an ODEON then, it had two of the brightest lit amber clocks on each side of the auditorium I have ever seen.' - Ted Dann.

Some of the information for this Theatre's later years was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website which also has a nice image of the Theatre here.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.

 

The Palace Theatre, 27 Putney High Street, Putney

Formerly - The Electric Pavilion / Blue Hall / Gaumont Cinema - Later - Odeon Cinema

A Sketch of the Putney Palace Theatre Entrance - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Above - A Sketch of the Putney Palace Theatre Entrance - From the Theatre's opening
souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Betty Balfour - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926.The Palace Theatre, Putney was constructed by Adamson & Sons, and designed by John Stanley Beard who was also responsible for designing the 1924 St. James's Picture Theatre in Westminster (Later to become the Westminster Theatre in 1931); the 1923 reconstruction of Pyke's Cinematograph Theatre in Shepherd's Bush; and the Forum Theatre in Fulham in 1930.

The Putney Palace Theatre was actually a reconstruction of the former Blue Hall Cinema, which had originaly opened as the Electric Pavilion in 1907 and then been taken over by Blue Halls Ltd in 1920. The reconstructed building opened as the Palace Theatre on Monday the 11th of October 1926 with an afternoon production introduced by the well known screen actress Betty Balfour. This was followed by a selection of films including 'What Happened To Jones' and music from the Palace Orchestra and the Organist George F. Somes.

Right - Betty Balfour - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926.

In 1928 the Theatre became part of the UPT circuit and then subsequently part of Gaumont British Cinemas. The Theatre was closed occasionally during the war but reopened full time on the 28th of January 1945. In 1955 the Theatre was renamed as a Gaumont Cinema and then in November 1962 it became an Odeon Cinema.

 

A Google StreetView Image of the Odeon Cinema, Putney - Click to Interact.The Odeon closed on the 11th of December 1971 with a last showing of the films 'Willard' and 'Man of Violence'. The ABC Cinema next door, owned by EMI and originaly called the Regal, was also closed on the same day.

Both the former Palace and Regal were then demolished and a new ABC Cinema with three screens was constructed on their site, opening in September 1975. This is still around today and run as an Odeon Cinema which can be seen in the image left.

Left - A Google StreetView Image of the Odeon Cinema, Putney - Click to Interact.

The opening Souvenir programme of the former Palace had some nice images of the Theatre and an article on its construction and future hopes, most of which I have reproduced and transcribed below:

Some of the information for this Theatre's later years was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.

 

The Putney Palace Theatre Opening Souvenir Programme

The Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926'DURING the last sixteen years the science of Kinematography has made enormous strides, and to-day the Cinema is firmly established as part of the National Life.

Unlike most districts of London, Putney, although an important and prosperous suburb, did not possess a modern super Cinema, but the finest position in the locality was occupied by one of the old pioneer picture palaces, which was known as the " Blue Hall." This old and hopelessly out of date theatre was purchased on behalf of a syndicate by Mr. Herbert A. Yapp, already well known in Putney as the Managing Director of the successful Wandsworth Palace Theatre.

The Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926Mr. J. Stanley Beard, L.R.I.B.A., the well-known Cinema architect, was consulted, with the result that the theatre has been practically rebuilt in accordance with his designs, and the complete transformation seen to-day is due to his skill and initiative.

The Grand Circle, Stage, Artists' Dressing Rooms, Organ Chamber, Musicians' Library, Cloak Room, etc., are additions which are at once apparent, but it is the important details which do not meet the eye that will make this Theatre the most popular in South-West London.

Mr. Beard has produced, in conjunction with the engineers, an entirely new method of combined heating and ventilation. The incoming fresh air, obtained from roof level, is first washed and humidified, then heated (or cooled, according to season), and finally forced into the Theatre through subterranean ducts under pressure. When vitiated the air is withdrawn with all smoke and impurities through the roof by powerful extractor fans, but in addition automatically revolving non-stop cowls will prevent the stagnation of the air when the Theatre is not occupied, which is so objectionable a feature of mechanically ventilated cinemas to-day.

 

Production Details from the Putney Palace Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Above - Production Details from the Putney Palace Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

The Auditorium of the Putney Palace Theatre - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926.

Above - The Auditorium of the Putney Palace Theatre - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Another entirely original feature is the prevention of the uncomfortable cold air currents at floor level which ruin so many programmes, and this has been achieved by heating the entire floor itself. Draughts are unknown, and it may be claimed (justly at last) that this Cinema is cool and fresh in summer and warm and fresh in winter.

Mr. Beard's now well-known system of Amber Lighting which was once described by The Evening News as "the ray of happiness colour" has been installed.

The Directorate of the Putney Palace Theatre and Admission Prices - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Above - The Directorate of the Putney Palace Theatre and Admission Prices - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

The Stage and Auditorium of the Putney Palace Theatre - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926.

Above - The Stage and Auditorium of the Putney Palace Theatre - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Details of the Companies involved with the construction of the Putney Palace Theatre and Admission Prices - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Above - Details of the Companies involved with the construction of the Putney Palace Theatre and Admission Prices - From the Theatre's opening souvenir programme for October 11th 1926

Putney Palace Theatre AttractionsGiven good pictures and a spacious but cosy theatre, yet another important feature remains namely, music. The orchestra is large enough for thirty performers, who can be accommodated also on the stage, and in addition the latest model KINESTRA theatre organ, built by the John Compton Organ Company, Ltd., of Turn-ham Green Terrace, W.4, has been installed. The KINESTRA is virtually a complete orchestra under the control of a single musician. Its sound-producing units are organ pipes of special design and tone quality, and also a set of Cathedral Chimes, drums, castanets, tambourine, etc. All this is controlled from the keydesk (or console), which is placed in the orchestra pit and electrically connected to the main portion of the organ. The tone of the instrument is projected through an ornamental grille, behind which are the " expression shutters " which control the entire resources of the organ at the will of the organist. An electrical blowing apparatus supplies wind to the hundreds of pipes, which vary from a few inches to sixteen feet in length, and which produce the effect of clarinets, flutes, trumpets, the human voice, strings, etc. Mr. G. Somes, a resident of Putney, has been engaged to preside at the organ.

Putney Palace Theatre Forthcoming ActractionsFinally and most important of all, " The Programme and The Policy." This Theatre will be under the direct control of the Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Yapp, and all that is best and most worthy in Kinematography will be presented as soon as released, augmented by first quality music and effects. Mr. Yapp will welcome suggestions in writing from patrons.

There will be a continuous performance daily from z p.m. to 11 p.m. The Theatre opens at 5.30 p.m. on Sundays, commencing at 6 p.m., giving two complete shows.'

The above text in quotes and its accompanying images are from the opening souvenir programme for the Putney Palace Theatre on October 11th 1926.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.

 

Putney - From 'The Face of London' by Harold P. Clunn - 1956.

Putney HippodromeBetween Barnes Common and Putney is an older district of fine houses, new blocks of flats and villas with spacious gardens, the principal ones being situated in Upper Richmond Road leading to Putney Station and Wandsworth. Ormonde Court and Belvedere Court on the east side are two very large blocks of flats with spacious courtyards. From a comparatively small village seventy years ago, Putney has developed into a large and busy suburb. Its crowded High Street forms a convenient shopping centre for the large villa districts by which it is surrounded. The former Putney Hippodrome (Shown Right) in Felsham Road is now an Odeon Cinema. Putney Hill, leading up on to Putney Heath, is bordered on both sides by handsome villas. Facing the Heath itself is an exclusive new colony of flats called Manor Fields. It consists of several large blocks standing in private gardens with tennis courts and private carriageways. The estate is set amidst ideal surroundings with entrances in Putney Hill and Putney Heath enclosed by gateways. Exeter House, which also faces Putney Heath, is another select block of flats similar to Manor Fields.

Right - The Putney Hippodrome.

At the foot of Putney Bridge on the east side is the parish church of St Mary, which has a fourteenth-century tower. This was restored when the church was rebuilt in 1836. On the embankment to the west of Putney Bridge are the Star and Garter Hotel and several fine blocks of flats, directly overlooking the grounds of Fulham Palace on the opposite bank of the river. Here also are the headquarters of several of the leading Arthur Lloyd's 'The Putney Bus'  - Click to Enlargerowing clubs of London. The widening of Putney Bridge by the London County Council was completed in 1933, the work having occupied a period of about three years.

The above text is from 'The Face of London' by Harold P. Clunn - 1956.

Although I don't have details of Arthur Lloyd performing in Putney he did perform a song called 'The Putney Bus' Click the image to see the song sheet and extra details.