This old cinema has a deep rooted history in the neighbourhood and we are keen that this building not only helps us to deliver a premium event space to out clients but we hope that it serves the local community too.
We saw it’s potential and were keen to make it more versatile than it’s previous uses and so we’ve kitted the building out with the best technology we could muster to make it as diverse a space as possible. In doing so we believe we have created a venue that will suit the needs of any event.
We recognise the potential to help prosper our local community by partnering with local businesses and encouraging the local community to use the space for local events and we even thought about a regular cinema club to keep the roots alive.
The Rialto opened in 1928, one of relatively few survivors of the silent era in Britain. Its site was previously part of the grounds of a large house, which had been built in the 1830s in the Great North Wood that once covered much of South London.
Granada bought the cinema and commissioned George Coles to modernise the premises, which reopened in 1950. Coles designed over 80 cinemas in Britain, which include some of the finest examples of Art Deco ebullience. At Upper Norwood, his style is more measured, giving rise to a dignified, noble sense of grandeur. Only six of Coles’ buildings remain in use as cinemas.
Church Road, Westow Street and Westow Hill comprise what is locally known as the Triangle, shared between Bromley, Croydon and Lambeth boroughs. The architecture is mainly mid-to-late-Victorian, with a pleasing diversity of periods and styles. 25 Church Road provides a dynamic contrast to the streetscape, through the clean geometry of its facade and the exposed brick massing of its auditorium.
Bromley created the Crystal Palace Park Conservation Area in 1989, which includes the eastern side of Church Road. The western side of Church Road is in the Upper Norwood Triangle Conservation Area, which Croydon created in 1989.
The Rialto opened when Upper Norwood was a genteel shopping centre, with the Crystal Palace still standing to its north. In the post-war years, the Triangle area suffered blight from road schemes and redevelopment plans. The cinema became a Granada bingo hall in 1968 and a Gala bingo hall in 1991.
Gradually, regeneration has occurred, largely through the initiatives of local businesses and community groups, supported by local councils. The Triangle is now a lively district centre of shops, restaurants, bars and cafés for a catchment area of about 60,000 people within a two-mile radius.
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