I query the letter by Robert C Gurd in the Gazette of January 30: it appears to me he got his cinemas mixed up.
As a schoolboy during the 1930s along with my brother and friends we always knew when a new film was being produced at Ealing Studios.
This was in the days of Will Hay, George Formby and Gracie Fields. We were at the opening of the Forum Cinema along with hundreds of other people.
I believe Gracie Fields attended the opening ceremony.
The main reason we were there was to have a look at and touch the Rolls Royces that these stars arrived in. I visited the Forum Cinema many, many times during its lifetime and there was never any suggestion of it being built to be used as a dancehall.
The forum was the cream of Ealing cinemas, along with the Odeon Cinema in Northfields.
The cinema with a ballroom was the Palladium, which stood in Ealing Broadway and was built in the early 1900s as a playhouse theatre. The ground floor of the Palladium was a dance hall called the Monteque; it was very popular during the Second World War with the armed services.
A staircase each side of the ball room led to the cinema; WH Smith's store stands near where the Palladium was originally.
The Walpole picture house was, I was always led to believe, built as a skating rink. It had a corrugated iron roof, which during heavy rain would vibrate often and let in water. When the cinema was demolished the frontage was salvaged.
The YMCA built a hostel on the site where the Walpole stood.