Sutton, SM1 4LD
Date opened: 8th September 1934.
Date Closed: 28th August 1975.
Architect: Robert Cromie.
Interior design: Eugene Molle and Michael Egan.
First film shown: “Catherine The Great”.
Final film shown: “The Wilby Conspiracy”.
Seating Capacity: 2390.
Construction work on the Plaza Cinema started on 15th February, 1934. The cinema opened on 8th September 1934. The first movie shown was “Catherine The Great” which starred Douglas Fairbanks. The Granada circuit took control immediately from the opening. However it was not until 1942 that the cinema was re-named GRANADA. Originally named the Plaza cinema, it was built under the control of Lou Morris. The architect was the renowned Robert Cromie who designed many famous London cinemas and theatres. The interior design was entrusted to Eugene Molle and Michael Egan who were both in their twenties at that time.
The imposing frontage comprised of two-inch multicoloured facing bricks with light coloured artificial Portland stone framing the windows which were positioned over the main entrance. The cinema had a full working theatre stage that included a fly tower, with ample dressing rooms facilities. There was a large cafe-ballroom, together with a car park that was included at the rear of the building.
The large 2390 seat auditorium was made up of 1641 seats in the stalls and a further 749 in the circle. The walls and ceiling had a speckled golden granular surface, shaded in parts of the building with rose. There were a series of lit coves which spanned the ceilings and side walls giving a defused amber light . With intricate grill-work panels either side of the proscenium which concealed the pipes in the organ chambers and ventilation ducts. There was a Compton 3Manual/10Ranks organ installed boasting an illuminated console that changed colour in line with the other colour change sequences within the cinema. Leo Webber was the organist who played it on the opening. Admission charges ranged between 9d to 2/6d. After only two years, more that two millions patrons had visited the cinema.
Following a hit by a German oil bomb on 20th September 1940, the Plaza closed for a month to carry out repairs during the autumn of 1940. The cinema re-opened on 21st October 1940
Apart from it’s cinema operation, the Granada’s stage was put into constant use for three decades, providing pantomimes, famous artists, operas and ballet presentations for the residents of Sutton and surrounding districts.
With intentions to start running the cinema as a bingo club, the companies application for a license was refused in 1974. To add to this, the cinema suffered fire damage at the stage end of the structure which led to the closure on the 28th August 1975. By this time a license to operate bingo had been approved. However, the building remained closed and was demolished, making way for an office block.
The final film screened was “The Wilby Conspiracy” starring Sydney Poitier.