Many thanks for publishing Mr Gurd's letter about the Empire Ealing. I would like to add some more about this cinema.
The building was assessed for listing in 2003 by English Heritage but was turned down. One of the reasons was that the Forum in Kentish Town was more of the original building.
I wonder what Kentish Town has got to do with Ealing. The building had been in Ealing 75 years serving the public.
The ex-Granadas are still standing - one in Kingston is Port nightclub and the other in Harrow is now Gold's Gym, both with interiors by Theodore Komi.
As with all Granadas the interiors are just the same. Both are listed Grade II, why not Ealing?
In 2003 a certificate of immunity was put on the building, which was the UGC and means the building could not be listed for five years.
It expired on February 10, 2009. Then another assessment could have been made for listing, but of course the damage has been done now with a quick demolition before February 10, apart from the facade.
As Mr Gurd wrote, this building could have had other uses; the interior walls could have all been removed to make one large space with full stage facilities, for example.
But does Ealing need a multiplex cinema with no car park? If so, will some of the fittings from the Empire be in the new multiplex?
Some of these old cinemas were listed or upgraded to Grade II or, as with the Tooting Gala, Grade I. How was the Empire not listed then?
English Heritage listed the Gala Bingo club (ex-Granada Dominion Acton), which in my opinion is not up to the standard the Empire was.
** I WAS very pleased that Gordon Kemp wrote to you last week about his memories of the opening day of the Forum Cinema in 1934.
It is well documented that the cinema had a dance floor in the first floor cafeteria (behind the front columns) together with a stage which accommodated a small orchestra.
The cafeteria had its own separate entrance off the street, and tea dances were held in both the afternoon and evening; it closed in 1968.
The cinema's opening ceremony was performed by stage and screen star Jack Buchanan, who is shown second right in the photograph above (courtesy LBE), with the owner Herbert Yapp and others.
Included in the opening programme was a film of the cinema's construction (which survives to this day) as well as a new film produced at the nearby Ealing Studios starring Gracie Fields called Love, Life and Laughter.
ROBERT C GURD
Chairman, Ealing Civic Society