Reclaim Our Cinema - the EMD Cinema in Walthamstow gets an unofficial refurbishment

 by Martin Belam, 7 February 2004

It is now around a year since the EMD cinema in Walthamstow shut - and at the time it made E17 the only London borough without a cinema. It was purchased with the intention of converting it into a church, but thankfully planning permission was refused. However, it is now a Grade II listed building being left to rot.

There is a campaign website to reclaim our cinema, and it has recently been unofficially refurbished.

Spray-paint of a cinema audience on the now closed doors of the cinema

There is also a protest poster to print out


im very sad as i was the last projectionist there!!!! and what they was planning at the time last year was that it was going to be refurbished by a indian chap called sharma but he decided to pull out because he was tight with his money he did own it so i was told by him!!! and making a tidy profit..but i heard since the organ inside has been ruined by vandals and the last surviving control panel of that type that run the organ is now ruined! what a shame.. the last organ show i did there was buster keatons the general..please contact me if u want to know more as i have photos regard ian

I cry everytime i see what has happend to this beautiful building.. All the films i saw as a young one growing up was here and now its sad seeing it crying out to be loved again.. I wish i had the money to buy it, i would and bring it back to the beautiful building it was for all of you.

While I fully appreciate the historical importance of the old cinema and the memories that it must hold for many local residents, I am aware that developers would have snapped up this opportunity if it were financially viable business. Ignoring the substantial regeneration costs that would be required to restore the building and install modern cinema equipment, it is not feasible that this could operate without subsidy from the Local Authority or the Arts Council.

It is disappointing to see this building lie in ruin, and deteriorate further, but the hard fact is that Walthamstow Central is crying out for a modern multiplex cinema, mixed tenure housing and quality bar and restaurant units. Walthamstow has a number of high rise properties and the proposals are in keeping with the flats situated around Wood Street and the town centre.

I would hope that a suitable use of the old cinema is found, such as a gym or community centre. However, I would also hope that Walthamstow can finally progress towards the 21’s century.

Its a shame to see this great building go to waste, it would be great to have a cinema in the area, the council should think of somewhere else to build one and actually build one, seeing as the building is now owned by a church.

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