Updates to previous blogs

Friday 14 November 2014

From time to time we come across images or additional material that adds significantly to earlier posts.  This article is a collection of some of those items.
We have added the relevant sections as postscripts to the original article, for ease of access for future visitors, and added, at the end of each section, the hyperlink to the location of the original article, with its post script.

We know that this site can only be a first draft of bigger stories for each of the short articles we produce, and are always keen to hear of more information about the subjects covered.  Please feel free to add memories to the comments section of any blog, or send in details of further information, that we will be happy to acknowledge and display, in future update round-ups.

Forest Gate Industrial School fire, 1890

Illustrated London News 11 Jan 1890,
Industrial school fire, dormitory
where children suffocated (1)
We have recently come across a copy of the Illustrated London News of 11 January 1890.  This included sketches of the fire at the Forest Gate Industrial School, on the previous New Year's Eve.

We reproduce these, below, which should be viewed in conjunction with our article on the fire, in May of this year.

Illustrated London News 11 Jan 1890,
Industrial school fire, general view of building
 The original story, with the sketches added as postscripts, can be accessed here.
Illustrated London News 11 Jan 1890,
Industrial school fire, dormitory
where children suffocated (2)

Forest Gate cinemas

A Cinema Miscellany no 24 (2003) by Brian Hornsey has provided valuable additional local material about a few of the local cinemas covered in our history of them in our Every Picturehouse tells a story feature, of July 2013. We thank him for his painstaking research.

The Imperial Palace (also known as the Regal and Rio) was for a while, around the outbreak of World War 1 known as the Forest Gate Electrical Theatre ( shortened to The Electric).

The Forest Gate Public Hall etc. In its early days had 1,000 seats, but following refurbishment around the outbreak of World War 1 they were reduced to 750 - suggesting that the earlier seating was on benches, replaced by single seats after the refit.  Prices for show around the start of World war were from 5d to 1/3d (depending on sitting within the cinema).

The Queen's.  Millionaire A E Abrahams had had such success with his Manor Park Coronation Cinema (built, nor surprisingly in 1902) that he built this - a sister cinema to it, near his Forest Gate home. Following its 1928 refit it became one of the first cinemas in the area to show talkies (introduced that year) and full length feature films.

Queen's Cinema
Poor reproduction of photograph
 of interior of Queen's Cinema
Another poor reproduction photo
 of Queen's Cinema exterior

The Odeon. It was opened on 1 March 1937 with "Thank Evans", when prices ranged from 6d to 1/-, with continuous showings from 12.30pm, daily. After the emergence of Odeon the two main cinemas in Forest Gate were it and the Queen's - operated by two of the country's major cinema chains. From this time, these two cinemas tended to show the major recent releases and the other local cinemas were left showing re-runs and 'B' movie feature films.

World War 11 and local cinemas. All places of entertainment - in Forest Gate, and nationwide - were closed on 3 September and all but essential staff were laid off (without compensation). When it became clear that the threatened invasion was not about to happen, cinemas reopened gradually, after about two weeks. 

There were four local cinemas operating by October 1939: The Odeon (1,800 seats), The Queen's (1,700 seats), The King's (600 seats) and the Splendid (550 seats). The Kings closed first, in 1940 (the circumstances are not clear). The Splendid, dropped its curtain for the final time, around then.  The Queen's was badly bombed on 21 April 1941, and its near neighbour the Odeon less severely hit.  The Odeon was repaired, but the Queen's was now gone for good.

So, by the end of the war the Odeon was the sole surviving local cinema, brining to an end a frantic half century of openings, closures, name changes and mergers locally.  The Odeon was fully restored and operating at its peak level by 1950. It was fitted with a Cinemascope screen in 1954.

Original article, with these notes and photos added as a post script, can be accessed here.

Wag Bennett and Arnie Schwarzenegger's gym

One of the most viewed articles on this site was the first (it's been all downhill since!), on the fire at Wag Bennett's gym, on Romford Road in April 2013.

Wag's house and gym (1), November 2014
The post has been viewed by a large number of both body builders and Arnie fans, as far as we have been aware. Not all of them will pass the sorry state that is the building, eighteen months after the fire.

The building has been squatted and vandalised, but has more recently been boarded up and secured.  Quite how effective this will prove to be, without a roof (!), remains to be seen.

Wag's house and gym (2), November 2014
So we are producing a two photos taken a couple of days ago, primarily for the benefit of blog visitors from beyond our local boundaries.

The original article, with these photos as a postscript i can be accessed here.

The Upper Cut Club

As visitors to this site may feel, we have an almost unhealthy obsession with this club, which ran for a single year in 1966/7 on Woodgrange Road.

We have recently come across a couple of gems that can be added to our regular coverage. Paul Osborn, who has an interest in the former pirate radio stations, of the 1960's, contacted us with a fascinating MP3 recording, attached, below.

The Club used to host regular sessions of the Giggle, Goggle, Guggle Club - essentially a disco held on Sunday afternoons, hosted by DJs from the pirate radio stations. Tony Blackburn and Ed Stewart, among others appeared.

The You Tube clip, below, is from an advert broadcast on Radio London ("Big L") on 12 August 1967. It was promoting an appearance at the Upper Cut Club, by DJ Mike Quinn, who could be seen for "Half a crown"!

Pete Drummond on Radio London reading
an advert during the morning show for the
Giggle, Goggle Guggle Show, at the
Upper Cut Club, on Saturday 12 August 1967.

Click link:  to hear. Thanks to Paul Osborn for the link

We have placed this as a postscript to the article on The Summer of Love, we published in August this year. It can be viewed here.

Prominent Rock music journalist, Peter Guralnick produced a book, published by Penguin, Sweet Soul Music in 1986. It includes photos of both Sam and Dave and Otis Redding, appearing at the Upper Cut on 18 March 1967. Close inspection of the photos shows posters on the wall of the club, adverting the event.

Sam and Dave at the Upper Cut
 Club, 18 March 1967

Guralnick credits Fred Lewis for the use of these photos.  We have been unable to track Mr Lewis down, but would like to thank him, for our ability to use them. Any other, similar photos, would be very gratefully received! We have placed these photos on our article on the Stax Tour, of April this year, which can be accessed here.
Otis Redding performing at the
Upper Cut Club, 18 March 1967

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