Sheila Johnston on the re-opening of an historic London landmark
The Independent, Friday 26th January 1990
‘Going Out to Cinema’
CINEMA GUIDE / Sheila Johnston on the re-opening of an historic London landmark; and we review multiplexes, picture palaces and fleapits around Britain, and beyond
[Image, small girl by ‘Refreshment’ booth in Electric foyer. Credit: David Rose]
[Caption:] Constructed in 1910, the Electric lays claim to being Britain’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinema. Now a Grade II listed building, it boasts a wealth of fine features including an Art Noveau foyer with a beautiful mosaic floor and kiosk (pictured above, before restoration), an unusual barrel-vaulted auditorium with a proscenium arch and ornate stucco-work. Haunting the building is benign shade of mass-murderer Reginald Christie, who worked for a spell as a relief projectionist. A memorial screening of 10 Rillington Place is planned shortly.
A peculiarly seductive aroma of fresh fish and chips and wet paint greeted visitors to the Electric Cinema in London’s Portobello Road earlier this week. Builders were putting the final touches to the interior, in preparation for the re-opening gala on Wednesday. It marks a happy conclusion to the long-running saga of the Electric, at least temporarily.