Why so many UK cinemas closed in the mid-late 20th Century

As people began to buy televisions for their homes, they went out less. So cinemas had to adapt or go out of business. The major change was to split single cinemas up into smaller ones, so offering a larger range of programmes. However many cinemas simply closed.

Picture palaces/cinemas which were once (in the mid 20th Century) within easy travelling distance

Guest contributions

The following cinemas were within easy reach of Edgware, my home town, when I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s.

Edgware: Ritz   Definitely the classiest of them all as regards interior decor, decoration etc, and possibly also the largest; it also had The ABC Minors; and its organ was in regular use.

Burnt Oak: Gaumont and Savoy   More or less the same as regards size, interior, etc. etc.

Colindale: Odeon   Ditto regards size, interior, etc.

Hendon Central: Gaumont    Ditto.

Old Hendon: Odeon    Ditto.

Mill Hill: The 'Flea Pit' as we called it, which I think was called The Capitol. Much smaller and, as far as I remember it, did not have a balcony. You could be unlucky to have a 6" diameter cylindrical roof strut/column partially impairing your view!

I think there was also one in Hendon near Bell Lane, but I don't remember the name and I don't think it showed the latest films. It was presumably quite small.

Tony Woods

All are gone. Anyone from Edgware wishing to go to a cinema today has to travel to Golders Green.

David Arnold

What now for the old cinema buildings

As an example, when the Edgware Ritz closed, it was gutted and turned into flats. Its shell was kept, as can be seen from the photographs. A new glassy front was added.

The Ritz cinema, Edgware while it was still in operation, small

The Ritz cinema, Edgware in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Old cinema building turned into flats

The Ritz cinema building gutted and refurbished into flats. Photo courtesy of Tony Woods.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased if you would contact me.

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