Granada Cinema/Theatre, Wandsworth Road, London.

Granada Cinema, Wandsworth Road.

128-130 Wandsworth Road,

London, SW8 2LD


Owners:   Granada Theatres Ltd. Sidney & Cecil Bernstein.

Date opened:  Tuesday 13th October 1936.

Architects:  L. Israel and E.D. Lyons, assisted by C.H. Elsom.

Interior design consultant:  Frank Owen Dobson.

Seating capacity:  2096. (stalls~1360.  circle~ 736).

3Manual/8Rank Wurlitzer organ installed and opened by Harry Farmer.

First film shown: ‘Queen of Hearts’ starring Gracie Fields’.

War damage closure from 12th November 1940 until 12th September 1949.

Final film shown: ‘Carry on Nurse’ starring Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques.

Seating Capacity: 2390.

Date closed as a cinema:  Saturday 13th May 1967.

Building extant.



Opened in the August of 1921, the Clock Tower Cinema, had previously operated on this site at Wandsworth Road. It eventually came under the ownership of Bernstein Theatres Ltd on the 30th April 1934. Although this cinema was fairly large, accommodating 850 customers, the  Bernstein brothers, who had ambitious plans which was to build one of their “wonder Granada cinemas” on the site. Additional adjacent land was acquired. The Clock Tower cinema closed on 28th March 1936. Demolition and building work came along at a rapid pace.

the all powerful Bernstein brothers.

Granada Theatres Ltd had commissioned the award winning architects L. Israel and E.D. Lyons, assisted by C.H. Elsom to design this new large 2000+ seat cinema/theatre.

The wide frontage was dominated by a broad tower that was over the canopy and entrance doors, situated to the far left of the facade. A double sided fin sign emblazoning the vertical lettering of Granada protruded from the centre of the tower.  The immense amount of red brickwork was relieved with bands of slender borders of buff coloured stone that contained the windows within the design.

The dreary and unimaginative main entrance of the Granada on its re-opening.

The main entrance was rectangular and lofty with staircases leading to a long landing that ran the length of the foyer and further onto the circle entrances themselves. The seating in the stalls area accommodated 1360 patrons with a further 736 seats in the large circle making an capacity of 2096.

The proscenium and front stalls of the Granada Theatre, Wandsworth Road, London.

The splay walls either side of the stage were set out in a series of sunken panels in the shape of squares.  The renown London born sculptor, Frank Owen Dobson, was involved with some aspects of the artistic design.

A cluster of 18 of these panels featuring motives of musical instruments in a repeated layout were arranged centrally on each splay wall, concealed behind these splay walls was the organ chambers for the 3Manual/8Rank Wurlitzer.

The stage was a full working stage complete with dressing rooms.


The Gala Opening took place on Tuesday 13th October 1936 at 7.30pm.

The mighty Wurlitzer organ was played for the first time by Harry Farmer. Film stars Rod la Rocque, Sydney Howard and  Sally Eilers made personal appearances. The first films to be shown were ‘Queen of Hearts’ starring Gracie Fields and a 54minute short film,  ‘Trapped by Wireless’ starring Lew Ayers.

On Tuesday 12th November 1940 the cinema was hit by German bombs forcing closures. Quickly repairs were made but before the building could re-open it was badly damaged in another WWII bombing raid within seven months. The Granada remained closed until after the war. Substantial repairs were required.  The cinema eventually re-opened for business on Monday 12th September 1949.

Throughout the 1950s it enjoyed reasonable business, particularly with the introduction of CinemaScope. However, the attendances started to dwindle in line with many UK cinemas at that time.

On Monday 1st February 1960 for one evening wrestling made its debut as a special attraction. Bingo was also trialled on Wednesday 25th July 1962. Seating at this time had a total capacity for 2008 customers. Within six months two days per week (Wed & Fri) were allocated to bingo, starting on 14th December 1962.

Gradually the popularity of bingo began to dominate over the cinema business.

Click the above frame to watch the trailer for “Carry on Nurse”.

The final film shown on Saturday 13th May 1967 was the eight year old movie  ‘Carry on Nurse’ starring Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques. Within two days, on 15th May 1967, the Granada Bingo Club opened its doors to bingo only customers. The bingo club lasted exactly ten years when the building closed in April 1977.

At present it is operated as London’s largest squash & fitness club, the Southbank Club. A company that rescued the derelict building.  Now totally restructured, it is a popular vibrant venue.