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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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The forgotten cinema in Queensbury

There are several hidden and forgotten treasures littered around Harrow, some that’s history plays an integral role in the establishment of the borough as the cultural haven we know today.

The Essoldo cinema in Queensbury is certainly a unique aspect of Harrow’s cultural background. Once a part of a long-forgotten chain of cinemas under the Essoldo name, they featured as a reliable source of entertainment nationwide after the second world war.

The forgotten cinema in Queensbury Harrow Online
Then and now

The chain, an infamous name in its hay day, was founded by Soloman Sheckman in 1908 when he established his first cinema. He continued to grow the Essoldo name until there reached an eventual 160 locations throughout the United Kingdom.

The building in Queensbury itself had an impressive art deco design which warranted the cinema a sizeable corner on Beverly Drive, its grandiose acclaim a spectacle for any passer-by.

Originally, the cinema opened as the Plaza Cinema, its construction undertaken by notable cinema architect Cecil Maisley, initially designed for a modest London-based production company The General Cinema Theatres circuit.

Overtaken and renamed by the esteemed Essoldo Cinema in 1949, the establishment was hailed for its ornate architecture and non-stop screenings, making it a hot spot for avid cinema-goers at the time.

The forgotten cinema in Queensbury Harrow Online
Look at the house prices at the time!

Unfortunately following a screening of “My fair lady” featuring Audrey Hepburn in 1967, the cinema closed its doors and was transformed into a bingo hall with the same Essoldo name.

The building remained this way until sadly being demolished to make space for housing in 1980.

Despite the building no longer being a feature of Queensbury, to commemorate the forgone cinema, a street that once ran adjacent to the site is now named “Essoldo way”.

One cannot refute the claim that this putative site dedicated to entertainment and extravagance continues to play a definitive role in Harrow’s cultural heritage.

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