Heritage FAQ 



The building has been shut for some time. Is it still viable as a cinema?

Yes, absolutely. Waltham Forest is one of only two London Boroughs without a cinema, and is crying out for such a venue. The cinema was still operating in 2003 when it was bought and then closed down by the current owners.


Independent reports commissioned by the local Council have confirmed that the building remains viable as a cinema. Experienced cinema operators have also confirmed its continued viability, and Curzon Cinemas are confirmed their interest in operating from the building.


What about live events too?

The cinema has a proud history as a live events venue, playing host to The Beatles, Rolling Stones and many others. Building on this heritage, we want to re-establish the cinema as a live events venue.


The main auditorium would therefore be configured as a flexible entertainment venue, able to host music, comedy and other live events, as well as screening films. The building would also contain two smaller cinema screens, which will be reserved for showing films.


We would also actively seek ways in which the cinema could support the thriving local arts scene.  


What are your plans to restore the building?

The building has been disused since 2003 and would require extensive restoration and refurbishment to bring it back into use as a cinema. It would require thoroughly modern facilities, such as high quality projection and sound technology and comfortable seating, to meet the requirements of today’s audiences.


We have also developed plans for some sensitive additions to the building which would improve access, provide additional cinema and education spaces and provide much better facilities.


This is a beautiful old cinema and a Grade II* listed building and we intend to cherish this heritage while creating an enticing entertainment venue fit for the 21st century.


How much will it cost?

We have not been able to carry out detailed surveys of the property, but based on previous independent reports and the restoration costs of other historic cinemas, we estimate that the building could be partially restored and re-opened for less than 3m. Waltham Forest Cinema Trust would own and operate the building as a registered charity.


Our full vision for the building, including the new additions, would cost around 12m. To read more about this, please download our Vision Document from the home page.


Where is the money coming from?

Waltham Forest Cinema Trust has a fundraising strategy in place and we are already talking to potential donors. Our plan calls for the cinema to be owned and run as a charity and so we are looking to raise funds from a mix of statutory, charitable and private sources. We are interested in talking to anyone who might like to contribute to this plan.


It is essential that the cinema can pay its own way once it has re-opened. It is neither realistic nor credible to expect the local Council or other government body to subsidise the cinema in an ongoing fashion. This means that the re-opened cinema must appeal to the widest possible audience. However, as well as earned income, in the future we would look to raise money from charitable sources for specific arts and education projects which would benefit the local community.


Who owns the building now?

The building is currently owned by an organisation called the United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG). Their stated intention is to turn the building into a church. We do not think this would be a fitting use for the building or bring any wider benefits to the local community.


There are around 200 places of worship in Walthamstow, with at least five churches within a few minutes’ walk of the cinema. UCKG have said that they intend to restore the building, but since they purchased the cinema in 2003 it has lain disused and its condition has deteriorated significantly.


The Trust has no religious affiliations and would make the cinema welcome to all sections of the community, regardless of culture or belief.


When could the cinema re-open?

We are ready to open negotiations to purchase the cinema at any time. Full restoration and refurbishment of the building would take around two years, but we have also developed a phased approach to redevelopment of the building which could see it re-open within months after purchase from the current owners.


The building has been closed for a decade now and it requires significant refurbishment. It is clear that it will require significant renovation but we would do all we can to open the building as quickly as possible, if it was safe to do so.

Where do you stand on the planned multiplex cinema for the Arcade site?

Waltham Forest Council, led by Chris Robbins, are very enthusiastic about our plans. The Council are also supporting the building of a multiplex cinema. This is a separate project being planned as part of the Arcade site redevelopment, immediately to the south of the EMD/Granada.
We think the two projects could work together, and lead the regeneration of Walthamstow town centre. The EMD/Granada remains a building of huge historical and cultural significance, much loved by the local community, and remains the only venue that could attract significant visitors from outside the Borough. We look forward to working with the Council to bring the EMD/Granada back into use.

How can I get involved?

We hope to announce ways in which the public can get involved in our work in the coming months.


If we are successful in acquiring the building, we will launch a fundraising campaign so that members of the public can contribute to the restoration.

However, if you think you can make a contribution to our plans now, please contact us.


For more information about the building’s heritage and other resources, please visit our links page.

Waltham Forest Cinema Trust is a company limited by guarantee. Company registration no. 7479509 (England and Wales). Registered office: 62 Howard Road, London, E17 4SJ.
Registered Charity no.1144168.

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