Cinemas

It may seem odd to think about Palmers Green having cinemas. Today it has none, but for many years it had two, including one of the biggest and most state of the art in London.  

The Queens cinema

The Queens was opened by Mr and Mrs Rata trading as Electric Pictures Ltd (Palmers Green) in 1912 under the management of a Mr Dudley Brenda, and was a sister cinema to Queens Hall in Enfield.

According to Geofrey Gilliam in Theatres, Music Halls and Cinemas in the London Borough of Enfield, it was rebuilt in 1927 with the arrival of ‘the talkies’, at which point a balcony was added and the capacity increased to over 1000. The cinema closed in September 1967 and the building demolished in 1971. The site is now occupied by Waitrose. 

 

The Palmers Green Palmadium

Who would want a cinema when you can have Store 21?

Once situated on the site of Store 21 and its immediate neighbours, the Palmers Green Palmadium was the first super cinema in London. Seating over 2000 it was opened by Sir David James in 1920 and designed in the Beaux Arts style by J Stanley Beard (1890-1970), who was responsible for many of the cinemas around London. Faced in in white ceramic with red brickwork and apple green tiles, the theatre had a large orchestra pit, organ and 14 boxes, 7 on either side, and a billiard hall.

The Palmadium first opened its doors on Christmas eve – a west end orchestra was engaged for the occasion, and a full orchestra often played.  

Hansard of 1926 includes an account given by Lord Philimore in of a visit to speak at the Palmadium 

About two years ago I was asked to speak at a meeting about the League of Nations in what, I think, is one of the finest halls in London, though it is not generally known. It is called the Palmadium, and is in the North of London. I had never heard of the district, and I am ashamed to say I have forgotten it. I said to someone who knew that part of London: “What is that district, and what sort of people am I going to speak to? “He said: “It is a dormitory.”

It was renamed the Gaumont in 1951 and closed in February 1961. If you look at the present buildings from just inside Lodge Drive, the footprint of building still gives a reminder of the former occupant of the site.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to Cinemas

  1. ian kingdon (carter) says:

    My uncle James carter was the chief projectionist at the queens Palmers green and was rewind boy until mossy Harris sacked the projectionist for throwing spools of film out the window and mossy Harris right hand man was called Ratcliff

    • Peter Hatfield says:

      I worked with Jim Carter as a projectionist at several cinemas after the Queens.
      He often spoke about his time there. Those were the days!

  2. Jenny Hirshberg says:

    I saw Mary Poppins and Peter pan at the Queens cinema in the 1960s.

  3. Christine Collins says:

    My mother (born 1916) in the 30’s, I think, used to go to the Palmadium twice a week. I believe they changed the programme twice a week. She also said that you could have a ‘cream’ tea whilst you watch the film.The raised section running along the left hand side of the auditorium was where the tables were set with a small table lamp dimly lit on each one. I remember this section in the 50’s, sadly without the cream tea, when I went to the Saturday Morning Pictures there.

    We also went to the Queens Hall cinema quite a lot. It was quite small, slightly tatty and sometimes very hot! I saw ‘The King and I’ there and the cinema was packed out.
    As you went up the stairs, I always had a laugh as there was a notice on a door which read ‘Ladies Toilet Managers Office’

    • Dear Christine
      Yes Vicky and I remember that notice.
      We agree it was small and tatty. But wasn’t it lovely especially if you were both in love with each other.
      As kids we went to the Ritz Bowes Road. Don’t ask me why, we just did.

  4. robertgreen
    My future wife Vicky and I loved the Queens. We started out together in 1956 and without doubt it was our favourite. Do you all remember the private boxes at 3/6d. a head and with ice cream at 1/3d. a go it was a dear night, but well worth it. Visits there were in the week. How many of you remember the Wood Green Jazz Club and dear old Art & Viv Sanders at the weekends.
    If Valerie Findlay is still knocking around we would love to hear from her.

    • John Muter says:

      I lived in Wood Green and Palmers Green 1933 – 1958 and remember that the Queens was closed during the war and reopened shortly after it finished. I also remember the cafe in the Palmadium and learning to dance at classes in the upstairs room.
      I have vivid memories of Wood Green Jazz Club at the Fishmongers Arms and listening to Chris Barber, Humph, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine (before they married), Terry Lightfoot and his New Orleans Jazzmen, Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whisky, and lots of others. Saturday evenings have never been the same since!

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