Super Cinema, Ilford.

Super Cinema

2-4 Balfour Road,

 Ilford, IG1 4JF


Original Owner:  Premier Super Cinemas Limited.

Architect:  William Edward Trent. 

Interior Decoration:  Val Prince.

Theatre organ installed & later replaced with a John Compton 3 Manual 8 Ranks organ.

Original Seating Capacity:  2336.

Date opened:  Saturday 14th October 1922.

Date Closed due to bomb damage:  Thursday 8th February 1945.

Demolished to make way for a C&A store.

Present Status:  Retail store.



Premier Super Cinemas Limited secured a central location for their new Super Cinema in  Ilford. Situated opposite the railway station on a corner site, standing between Balfour Road and Ley Street at their meeting with Cranbrook Road.

William Edward Trent.

The respected cinema architect, William Edward Trent was commissioned to design a large building that would provide silent cinema exhibition together with full stage facilities for variety performances. William Trent would soon become the chief architect for Provincial Cinematograph Theatres and then Gaumont British Cinemas. Val Prince was credited with the interior decoration.

The 2336 seat cinema opened on Saturday 14th October 1922. The vast auditorium was ornately decorated with complementing furnishings in hues of bottle green and gold. It had a first floor restaurant where diners could have tea and listen to a ‘Palm Court trio’ playing soft music in the background. Initially as a silent theatre the Super had an orchestra and a theatre organ to accompany the action on the screen.  The organ was replaced in the 1930s with a new Compton 3 Manual 8 Ranks organ. 

A 1933 aerial shot of the Super cinema, Ilford

Within two years the Super Cinema came under the control of Provincial Cinematograph Theatres. Gaumont British Cinemas became the new owners in 1929 when they took over ownership from PCT.

The bomb damaged auditorium of the Super cinema, Ilford.

On Thursday 8th February 1945 a German V2 rocket fell on a clothing factory which was opposite the cinema.  not only did it destroy the factory and Wright’s garage, the blast  severely damaged the rear of the cinema, bringing the roof in. The V2 rocket tended to flatten buildings over a wider area due to its much lower speed at impact. It was mid day and the Super had just opened it’s doors.  Only a few patrons were in the building. However, fourteen people were killed, including two usherettes at the cinema, seven who worked at the clothing factory opposite the cinema, one NFS fireman, and four local residents. One 16 year old patron, Flora Gully, remembers escaping uninjured through an exit door into the street and was then told to “go on home” by a policeman. The King and Queen visited the damaged site.

Beyond repair. The structurally unsound Super cinema.

Devastation on Thursday 8th February 1945! The heart of the bomb blast that was opposite to the Super Cinema.

The cinema was closed indefinitely when it was found to be so badly damaged and structurally unsafe. The facade was covered in bill boards advertising films at nearby Odeon and Gaumont cinemas.

The closed and damaged Super Cinema at the end of Ley Street in the early 1950’s advertising films at nearby Odeon and Gaumont cinemas.

It remained closed and a bombsite for more than fourteen years until it was demolished in 1959 to make way for a C&A department store.  A Wilko store now occupies the site.

The site of the former Super cinema. Pictured in the 1960s with a C&A store in place.