This disc was recorded around 1936, roughly a year after The Astoria Cinema was opened. The resident organist at the time was Guy Hindell. The cinema was equipped with a Compton Cinema organ.
Research shortly after I obtained the recording, turned up nothing. Looking in Kelly's directories and 'phone books from 1935 - 1939 made no mention of a K L Giles at this address, or even that the recording company (Tru-Tone) and the address even existed. The Astoria was renamed after the war when The Rank Organisation bought the chain and it was renamed The Odeon. There were many popular shows put on over the years, apart from its main purpose as a cinema.
In 1969 it was converted into a twin screen cinema and at the time of the conversion the Compton Cinema organ was removed and is now used in a local church.
In 1985 it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and the the manager at the time, Arthur Levinson when he was shown the recording was unaware of its existance let alone any history about it.
Around 1989 it was closed and a new eight screen complex was opened at the top of the High street, where it remains to this day.
This move became nessessary because the lease on the building was due to run out in the year 2000 (it was owned by a brewery) and to keep audiences comming a more up to date building was required that was more accessable.
After it was closed, the ground floor became a supermarket for a few years. There was a period of time that it was up for lease (ground floor only) and latterly was a pound shop and amusment arcade. The interesting thing is all the cinema fittings were still in place and subject to being brought up to date could have been reopened as a cinema, however the builing was in a bad state of repair and now has now been sold to the University of Essex. Building of this part of the University is now underway.
© 2005 M F Hazell