Growing up with Southall

Source: R.J. Meads, Growing-up With Southall From 1904 (Southall, 1979), pp. 6-7

Text: 1910, Southall’s first cinema, the “Gem” was built in the Green opposite Osterley Park Road (seating about 150 on knifeboard seats; manager, Mr Murch). 1911, the “empire” Cinema was opened. This was in the Uxbridge Road, corner of Northcote Avenue. It quickly got a bad reputation by the films shown, and closed after 6 years. I was told that the last film shown, “The Exploits of Elaine” was very daring, the ladies revealing about 4 inches of leg and very low cleavage. Yet another cinema opened in 1912, the “Paragon Palace” built in the South Road; this was on some of the frontage of Townsend House. It was a very up-to-date building and very comfortable, showing in those days only silent films and the action on the screen being accompanied by a pianist playing the appropriate music. One of the ladies whose job that was a Mrs. Creech. It seated 300 with tip-up seats, with 1 penny matinee Saturday afternoons and thrilling serials. It is still going today, very much altered and named the “Liberty”.

Comment: The Empire Picture Theatre was in Uxbridge Road. The Liberty Cinema closed in 1982, reopened at the Himalaya Palace Cinema in 2001, showing ‘Bollywood’ films, but closed again in 2010.

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