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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1212651



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Greenwich

District Type: London Borough


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 31-Dec-1973

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 397131

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


786/8/781 POWIS STREET SE18 31-DEC-1973 Nos. 174-186 (Even) Granada Cinema

II* Former Granada cinema, built 1936-7 for Granada Theatres. Architects: Cecil Masey (1881- 1960) and Reginald Harold Uren (1903-88) with interior design by Theodore Komisarjevsky (1882-1954). Brick and rendered facade. Corner site, with double-height auditorium with balcony and stage, set behind large foyer, and with tower to right. EXTERIOR: Asymmetrical curved facade to Powis Street with entrance on left and tower on right. Continuous canopy at string level. T o the left, a line of five tall windows divided by brick and render pilasters, under a simple canopy. Thin glazing bars to provide fifteen panes in vertical style. Line of five more narrow windows at second floor level, each with a thin canopy. T o the right, a long line of five horizontal windows enclosed by a concrete frame, except on the right where they abut the tower and emerge on the other side. Each window is divided into six lights by glazing bars. Blank brickwork above these windows only broken by the tower which then rises above the parapet. Attic storey over the entrance end, with horizontal rendered section under another canopy (which originally acted as a background to the name of the cinema) and then three windows with brick pilasters under a rendered strip. Concrete parapet copping. Roof of foyer block not seen. The outer face of the tower has a rendered strip, which originally held a glazed fin that lit up at night. At the top of the tower an open area under a flat roof originally formed part of this illumination scheme. Concrete rear wall to tower. Stock brick auditorium wall to the left of the entrance facade was originally hidden by other property. The seen storey stage-dock entry is rendered but the rest is of dark brown brickwork with string courses (interrupted over the scene-dock to enliven the composition) and mansard roof. Flat-roofed two-storey extension on the left, with an exit aperture at ground level and a line of four horizontal windows in the upper storey. Rear auditorium wall in Fletton bricks with buttresses. Pitched roof over auditorium. I NTERIOR: Five sets of entrance doors into outer foyer or vestibule. Outer foyer walls enriched with coupled attached columns in chevron profile and with Romanesque stiff-leaf capitals. Rope moulding on transverse ceiling beams. Three sets of glazed and stained timber doors with twisted horizontal wrought-iron bars and cast-iron ' antiqued' handles. Double-height inner foyer with galleries on three sides, reached by way of stairs of' T plan' type on the far wall. Balustrades to galleries and stairs in subdued Gothic form. Newel posts with clustered colonettes. On the back wall there is an elaborate gilded quasi-medieval panelling feature divided into nine bays by pilasters of clustered shafts with stiff-leaf capitals. Each bay is round- headed, with scroll and foliage decoration in the tympana, except for the central one -which has a pediment with a roundel and ribbon mouldings. The five centre bays are subdivided into twin Gothic two-centred arches with stiff-leaf capitals, and have fluted backgrounds. The two outer bays also have twin arches but the backgrounds are decorated with figures {some playing instruments), painted in Italian Renaissance style by Vladmir Polunin {1880-1957), a compatriot of Komisarjevsky. Coffered ceiling with painted quatrefoils. Large central chandelier, four subsidiary ones and six pairs of wall lights all in Gothic style. The gallery originally served as a cafe. This extended into a room, now partitioned off as offices, over the vestibule. On the left glazed and stained timber doors lead into the auditorium. Large double-height auditorium in Gothic style. The ante-proscenium splays are divided into three sections. Each is separated by pilasters. The central feature is a monumental Romanesque style arch with jambs of seven engaged columns {alternately banded and twisted) and a tympanum of openwork foliage designed to disguise a ventilation duct, above the emergency exit extending up into a tall pointed gable decorated with crockets and a finial. The space inside both gables is decorated with a large central roundel {subdivided by a cusped cinquefoil) and three subsidiary ones with quatrefoils. The stained timber exit doors themselves are framed by detached columns under a round arch with a dog-tooth moulding and a tympanum decorated with a stylized stiff-leaf motif. Flanking panels: above the dado {with more Gothic decoration) are painted panels representing rampant lions and unicorns set in stylized backgrounds {possibly also by Vladimir Polunin). Each panel has the inscription' Mon Seul Desir'. The upper stages of the ante-proscenium splays are also split into three sections with superimposed rows of cusped niches {interspersed by arrow-heads) flanked by tall single niches nearest and tall coupled niches furthest from the proscenium. An additional section each side further back has exit doors {with small glazed quatrefoil panels) at ground level, the termination of the balcony front and superimposed backlit four-light stained glass two-centre windows -the upper ones having plate-tracery incorporating blind quatrefoils and a roundel containing six smaller roundels. The proscenium is formed from flanking corbelled buttresses and a line of quatrefoils. Above is a Gothic canopy of five trefoils under crocketed gables separated by demi-buttresses against a background of more trefoiled niches. The serpentine front of the balcony has stiff-leaf decoration. Balcony soffit with further Gothic grill decoration on the beams. Elaborately coffered ceiling over front stalls area in dull red and green. Ceiling over balcony in three sections, again with complex coffering. Two large Gothic chandeliers over the front stalls area. The entrance to the balcony foyer has triple attached columns with composite capitals. The balcony foyer (the' Hall of Mirrors') is of seven bays divided by mirror-faced pilasters. Each inner side bay contains a mirror above low benches, with twisted columns in the jambs and under a trefoil head, flanked by columns with composite capitals. The outer side bays form an arcade in front of an' aisle'. Four French tear-drop chandeliers. In the aisle is an original table with four-arch stretchers. Pitched coffered ceiling. The balcony is reached through entrances at each end of this hall, with Gothic panelling over both. ' Screen' feature placed in the angles where the balcony widens out in the centre of the auditorium. These have five niches with fibrous plaster grilles under crocketed steeply pitched gables. Entry to the balcony is through two side vomitories. Nine cusped niches on each side wall, glazed and leaded. Cross-over balustrades of twisted metal. Lower ceiling section under projection suite. ANAL YSIS: Included at Grade II* as one of the finest and most important cinema interiors in Britain, being one of the only two with convincing Gothic decoration. It is only slightly less elaborate than its sister cinema at Tooting, by the same team but without Uren, who was brought in to provide a dramatic streamlined front in the face (literally) of the competing Odeon cinema opposite which opened in the same year. Although converted to bingo in 1966 most of the internal decoration survives unaltered. The figurative painting by the Russian stage designer Vladimir Polunin is also of particular interest. Sources: Dennis Sharp, The Picture Palace, Hugh Evelyn: London, 1969, pp.112-4 David Atwell, Cathedrals of the Movies, Architectural Press: London, 1980, pp.139-141 Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 2: South, Penguin Books: London 1983, pp.83, 242,291 Richard Gray, Cinemas in Britain, Lund Humphries: London, 1996, pp.78-9, 135 Allen Eyles, The Granada Theatres, Cinema Theatre Association: London, 1998, pp.79, 81-5,225 3

Listing NGR: TQ4323679160

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Atwell, D, Cathedral of the Movies: A History of British Cinemas and their Audiences, (1980), 139-141
Bridget, C, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: London 2: South, (1994)
Eyles, A, The Granada Theatres, (1998), 81-85
Gray, R, Cinemas in Britain One Hundred Years of Cinema Architecture, (1996), 78-79
Sharp, D, The Picture Palace, (1969), 112-114

National Grid Reference: TQ 43236 79160


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