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‘Intimate’ destruction?

There may soon be one fewer historic building in Palmers Green following news this week of plans to demolish the Intimate Theatre and replace it with a new parish centre and flats.

There have long been rumours that the Intimate’s days were numbered. St Monica’s, who own the site, first made a successful planning application to replace the theatre (also known as the Large Hall) with a single story parish centre in 1992.

This week’s parish newsletter announces plans to demolish it and to also sell the current Parish Centre on Cannon Hill – which is a Grade 2 listed regency villa.

As you may be aware, the Large Hall and Parish Centre at Cannon House require major investment. Even after such investment they remain, in design, a theatre and private residence. Existing expenditure on maintaining these building is costly and will continue to be in the future. The buildings are not energy-efficient and some areas cannot be accessed by those with impaired mobility. To meet the present and envisaged future needs of the parish, it is proposed to build a new Parish Centre, one that will be a legacy for future generations.

Of course, the Intimate already has a legacy, and was successfully nominated for Enfield Council’s Local Heritage List two years ago. The site of Sir John Clements’ famous theatre company, the first play ever to have been broadcast live on television was beamed from the Intimate and it is one of the last surviving local theatres in London. Those who have trodden the boards include Richard Attenborough (making his stage debut), Irene Handl, Anna Wing, Nicholas Parsons, Roger Moore, Arthur Lowe, Bill Owen, John Inman, Dad’s Army writer Jimmy Perry and his wife Gilda, Tony Blackburn, Stephen Berkoff, Davy Graham, David Bowie, The Wurzels, Joe

David Bowie appeared in Poirrot in Turquoise for four nights in the late 1960s

Brown, George Melly, Tommy Trinder, Hinge and Bracket, and, in panto, Bill Pertwee, Ruth Madoc, and John Noakes.  Many of those have of course passed now. And it seems that so too will our old Intimate.

St Monica’s are holding a parish meeting about the plans on 18 September at 7.30. At the Intimate Theatre.


7 replies on “‘Intimate’ destruction?”

There is an inaccurate and misleading comment on the N21 online website which says that Cannon House in Cannon Hill is due to be demolished. The proposals include that Cannon House would be sold and there is no mention of demolition, this inaccuracy should be corrected. Also with regard to the Intimate Theatre the proposal is not to replace the building with flats as is mentioned below but with a modern purpose built disabled accessible building.

N21 online is Helen Osmans site so you might want to ping her an email and ask for a correction to be made?

So sorry to hear this news of redevelopment, I was in various scout shows and pantomimes at the Intimate as a boy and teenager and I suspect that many will regret it if it is demolished, surely there are options that need serious consideration not simply a pretence at consultation. As for Cannon House, it was used as an overflow to the school when I went there and I have very fond memories of being taught by Miss Dorothy Stucky in the late 1950,s and early 60s in the front room which became our classroom again surely there are imaginative architects out there who can see their way to saving and restoring this house sensitivity, have earnest attempts been made I wonder?

As newly-weds my wife and I were frequent patrons of repertory company performances at The Intimate. As a keen amateur actor, director, scene builder and costume-maker. I appeared many times there and participated in countless one-act and full-length drama festivals. I will be very sad to see the old girl go.
Jeff Best

That is sad news. Many people will have very fond memories of shows and pantomimes they saw there in the past. I remember seeing Lynda Baron, (Nurse Gladys Emanuel from Open all Hours) as the principle boy in a pantomime with lots of thigh slapping & Bill Owen who kept forgetting his lines!
I suppose with the arrival of the more modern facilities at The Millfield Theatre the Intimate is no longer appealing to professional or amateur shows. It’s a pity it can’t be adapted for community use though rather than, yet another block of flats. How many more people can be squashed into our area when our Council can’t afford to run services and infrastructure at present because of government under funding! Don’t get me started on that one!

Went there when I was young. Am now 83 and living in Milton Keynes. Used to live on North CircularRd. After the war we moved into 24 Ecclesbourne Gardens which had been bombed and rebuilt. Father was in the house at the time, when it belonged to my Godfather. Father had Regent Garage which later took over the old forge next door.

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