Thank you for publishing Stan James's evocative photograph of the entrance arch of the Walpole Picture Theatre set against the remains of the former Empire (ex-Forum) cinema in the background.
There are two interesting links between the cinemas. First, both buildings were designed nearly 25 years apart by the same architect (John Stanley Beard - not Herbert Yapp as stated in the article, who was the managing director of the two cinemas).
Second, the facades had to be preserved as a condition of the demolition of both cinemas. The Walpole Picture Theatre, in Bond Street (opened in 1912, demolished 1981) was replaced by Walpole House and the facade re-erected rather forlornly at the back of the TVU car park.
I am not aware of any plans to move it to the new cinema development, although we tried hard to persuade the developers to do so.
The Civic Society tried on several occasions over the years to get the Forum Cinema listed, but failed. Apparently because its sister theatre in Kentish Town (formerly known as the Town and Country Club but now known again as the Forum), also designed by Beard, is already Grade
II listed and remains undivided, whereas Ealing was 'tripled' with the loss of many interior features in 1975.
However, a condition of its demolition was a full photographic record of its interior (which has been carried out by the Museum of London) and that some of its features, such as panelled doors, handles and balustrades, would be salvaged for reuse in the Kentish Town Forum, where these have been lost over the years.
The cinema once had a Compton organ (manufactured in Acton) but this was moved to Wormwood Scrubs in the early 1960s. It is sad that this fine building has been demolished in its 75th year, not only because of its historic interest and design qualities but also because it was originally built as a theatre with full stage facilities, together with a café and dance floor - all things which Ealing could have done with today.
ROBERT C GURD
Chairman Ealing Civic Society