Heritage FAQ 



The former Granada Cinema in Walthamstow is a Grade II* listed building in recognition of its architectural and cultural significance. It is one of the finest cinemas of its kind in the UK, and one of the few remaining cinemas that has the potential to be renovated and returned to wider public use as a heritage asset and viable entertainment and cinema venue the purpose for which it was originally designed.


Built as part of the Granada empire by Sidney Bernstein, to the design of Cecil Massey with fine Art Deco and Moorish style, the interiors were by celebrated Russian stage designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. It also houses the only example of a Christie organ which is still in its original setting. The former Granada Cinema, and its predecessors on the site, mean that 186 Hoe Street has been important to the people of Walthamstow as a place of entertainment since 1887. It has been an important social focus for the community for over a century.


The building has always served as more than just a cinema. In its heyday, the venue hosted concerts by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Duke Ellington, Johnny Cash and others huge stars who had crowds queuing down Hoe Street to get in. It featured a restaurant and hosted a regular Christmas season panto.


We believe this heritage should be cherished and as much as this project is about finding a sustainable future for this building, it is also about re-connecting with its past. Walthamstow residents going back several generations have memories of attending the former Granada Cinema. This project will enable them to once again enjoy this important part of their heritage and celebrate it. It will help explain the significance of this building, and the wider community in which it was built and operated, to a new generation.


We will work with English Heritage and expert conservationists to restore the glorious original features of the building, enabling local people to gain skills and learn about restoring historic buildings throughout the process.


We will work with the British Film Institute and other film industry and heritage organisations to create interactive displays based on the building and other archive materials, and facilitate interpretation and learning opportunities. We will reconfirm this building at the heart of its community, and broaden access to people from further afield through digitisation of the archive, organised tours and lectures.


We will ensure that it is not just ticket buyers that benefit from a restored venue, but that local people and the wider community can access, and benefit from, the building throughout the year. We hope to create new special moments in the history of this glorious building, by respecting its best traditions while bringing the building into the 21st century.

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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