A romance revived: historic former Redbridge cinema hosts Valentine’s movie night

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 20 April 2018

The Embassy Cinema. Photo: RIBA Collections

The Embassy Cinema. Photo: RIBA Collections


The doors to a historic former Redbridge cinema have been opened once more and its theatre filled with the soul-stirring sound of Celine Dion.

Former Embassy Cinema Auditorium. Picture: RIBA collectionsFormer Embassy Cinema Auditorium. Picture: RIBA collections

More than 75 people came to Mayfair Venue, in High Road, Chadwell Heath to enjoy a romantic valentine’s screening of the academy award-winning film Titanic on February 10.

The venue originally opened in 1934 under the name of The Embassy Cinema, also known as “The Gaumont”.

The film screening was the first to come to the venue in 51 years.

A red carpet was rolled out to welcome in guests, who were greeted by members of the Chadwell Heath South Residents Association (CHSRA).

Most guests were east London locals, but some travelled from as far as Cambridge and Wimbledon,

They were ushered through to the foyer where they could paw over a display commemorating the life of Ilford-born survivor of the Titanic Eva Hart, created in collaboration with Valence House and Barking and Dagenham council.

Refreshments were available, including, popcorn, red cherry-flavoured candy floss and wine.

A string quartet also greeted guests with ragtime jazz and classical music.

Bringing home the event’s oceanic theme, the art deco auditorium of the cinema was illuminated with blue light.

Before the film began, guests were shown a 10-minute documentary detailing the multiple failures that ultimately led to the disaster of the Titanic’s sinking in 1912.

“Most people just think that the ship hit an iceberg and that was it,” said CHSRA’s Rama Muraleetharan.

“Before the ship set sail there was a fire in the boiler room and they never sorted it before the ship embarked, they just hid the part of the ship that was burned from view.”

During an intermission in the film, the audience were treated to the jazz vocal styling of swing singer Steve Conway.

He had travelled that morning from a gig in Wembley Stadium’s Club Lounge, during the half-time break of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat over Arsenal.

Commenting on Steve’s performance, the group’s Rama Muraleetharan, said: “He was a joy to watch, and brought elegance to the night.”

After the film’s dramatic conclusion, the audience were invited to end the evening with dancing to music from the golden age until midnight.

Among the attendees was Timothy Wardley, a Government Heritage Advisor, Cinema Organ Expert and Chairman of the National Piers Society.

“As someone with much experience in the charitable sector, theatre, performing arts and cinema organ restoration, I was delighted to attend this special event,” he said, adding: “The evening was a great success, hugely enjoyable.”

“I was greatly encouraged by both the turnout and diversity of the audience, reflecting all cultures and ages.”

“I am certainly looking forward to the next chance to go to the pictures at the Embassy!”

The former Embassy Cinema is believed to be one of the most lavish of the eight cinemas known to have been designed by architect Harry Weston.

In 1966, it closed and became a bingo hall.

In 2015, following the closure of the hall, it was transformed into a wedding hall/banqueting suite.

The CHSRA work to advance community development and urban regeneration, whilst protecting and preserving Chadwell Heath’s historical and cultural heritage, for the benefit of the public.

They have a number of upcoming events in the pipeline including an ‘Easter Egg-stravaganza’ and ‘Community Bake Off’ on April 2, a Royal Wedding Tea Party on May 19 and a late-50s themed outdoor movie night on June 10.

The June film screening will take place in Mayfair venue’s car park and the film of choice will be put to public vote, with American Graffiti (1973), Grease (1978) and Back to the Future (1985) as the main contenders.

The group are appealing for volunteers to help them spread the word and help get involved in running future events.

Rama added: “We are a growing organisation, we’re local residents and we really care about our local heritage.”

Follow the latest with Chadwell Heath South at:

Latest Ilford Stories

59 minutes ago

The former Stevenage midfielder is slowly building up his fitness after a difficult summer on the sidelines


Two boxers from Gator ABC represented the Hainhault based club in the National ABA Youth Championships held in Hayes on Sunday.

Super Snodgrass is loving every miuute with the Hammers


St Mary’s Lane club lost 24-14 at home on Saturday

The experienced winger, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, suffered a knee injury during the 1-0 loss at Boreham Wood

39 minutes ago

The chair of governors of a Wanstead primary school is quitting in protest of the Diocese of Brentwood’s plans to turn it into an academy.

Carolers lit candles to remember those who died homeless in the borough in the past year at a Christmas concert in Ilford town centre.


Ilford North MP Wes Streeting visited students at Ilford County High School to talk about why he first got involved in politics, what it means to be an MP and why students might consider a career in politics.


The Exchange in Ilford has added a state-of-the-art, Savannah-themed play area, with hand painted animal sculptures, to its brand new family zone, designed by American creative agency Playtime

Are you an unpaid carer aged 25 or over? Are you interested in working towards getting into or back into work? Do you need practical help and support to get ready for this big step? If your answer is yes to at least two of these questions read on.

Struggling to find a buyer for your home in a slower market? We speak to Ilford property expert Nina Kaura from Portico about the Crossrail effect and why getting things right first time will get you the best price for your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now