First Granada Cinema, Rear View 2, Dover, Kent, England, United Kingdom

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John Latter on April 3, 2009

Another rear view of the now-derelict building that was once the first Granada cinema to be opened in the UK (see 'Standard Info' below for more history) . This is the third photo in a series of three external shots: click to see a front view of the building from Castle Street and a rear view from Dolphin Lane.

This photo was taken on the 29th of March, 2009, at 9.01 am from St James Lane which runs northwards from the western end of St James Street [1] [2].

The building down the right-hand side of the image is part of a multi-storey car-park containing the offices of Arrow Cars (taxis). On the left, but behind the viewer, the Lord Nelson pub (apparently now a gay bar) stands on the corner of St James Lane and Flying Horse Lane.

[1] From The Street Names of Dover:

St. James Street - So named because it leads directly up to St. James Church, the old one as we now call it. Until about the year 1856 the old rectory stood just opposite at the corner of Woolcomber Street making the road so narrow there that a white stone was placed against the Rectory wall to prevent carts in passing from striking the house. In our grandfather’s days St. James Street was the route taken by the coaches from Deal. One can hardly imagine four horse coaches dashing down that narrow street and turning a sharp corner into St. James Lane and thence into the Market Square. It was then the fashionable part the "West End of Dover" and there are remains in it of many of the good houses where the "elite" lived. Some of the houses at the lower end of the street are probably of the 13th or 15th century and are very picturesque. One of the houses has a curious ceiling in one room, with the letter E. and R. introduced into a pattern showing that the house was built in the days of Elizabeth Regina (Elizabeth I). The first Meeting House for Quakers was in the street opposite St. Margaret's Place.

[2] The St James area is part of the proposed Dover Town Investment Zone (DTIZ).

Standard Info

This building was opened by Sidney and Cecil Bernstein on January 8th, 1930 as their first Granada Cinema (followed by Walthamstow).

The interior was designed by Theodore Komisarjevsky (1) who set the auditorium in a Moorish style and the foyer in that of Louis XV.

It became the ABC Cinema in 1960 and finally closed on the 30th of October 1982.

Later, the building first became Images Nightclub and then Snoops Nightclub. It now stands derelict and is currently owned by J D Wetherspoons who also own Dover's The Eight Bells public house/pub. The Eight Bells was also once a cinema: The Plaza Cinema and then the Essoldo Cinema.

I'm pretty certain that this building appeared in the 1955 film, "Contraband Spain", starring Richard Greene of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" fame.

I remember watching, "The Adventures of Robin Hood" along with "The Adventures of William Tell" as a child and I once met David Whitfield (who sang William Tell's theme song) backstage when he appeared at Dover's Granada cinema. I was only a few years old at the time and he gave me a bottle of beer to drink to shut me up so that he could chat to my (much) older step-sisters :)

This video link to "Guilherme Tell has David Whitfield singing during William Tell's opening scenes - it might bring back a few memories for anyone as old as myself!

(1) "Theodore Komisarjevsky was a leading 20th century theatrical director and designer, particularly known for his productions of plays by Anton Chekhov and William Shakespeare in England in the 1930s.

In the 1930s his productions of King Lear and Macbeth for the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Memorial Company were widely acclaimed as the most innovative of his time. He also published a study of theatrical costumes, translated and wrote plays, and gave lectures at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1930s he designed interiors for a number of landmark movie (cinema) theatre buildings of the Granada Theatres Ltd.

This is the Images of Dover website.

John Latter on October 1, 2009

John Latter on April 3, 2009, said:

This photo was taken on the 29th of March, 2009, at 9.01 am from St James Lane which runs northwards from the western end of St James Street

There's now a photo of the three remaining houses in St James Street (West).

John Latter on February 21, 2013

Also see the February 2013 photo:

Art Deco Ruins of First UK Granada Cinema, Castle Street, Dover, United Kingdom

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 3, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/03/29 09:01:45
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 24.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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