The Granada Cinema
Greenford had three cinemas by the late 30s, the third being the Granada in the town centre, on the Greenford Road. Originally, Greenford's Roman Catholic Church had been on the site of the cinema before moving to new premises.
Work began in April 1937 to level the church and 150 local men worked on the site. The architecture was impressive with a massive exterior, including a tower with a neon sign rising from the north side.
Interior design was in the hands of renowned cinema interior designer, Theodore Komisarjevsky. There was seating for 2,000 people and the large foyer and wide staircases lent the air of spaciousness to the interior. Inside was a huge Wurlitzer organ, which was reportedly capable of 'producing the effect of a full symphony orchestra, or such sounds as a Chinese tom-tom, a ship's siren, an aeroplane's roar, and a telephone bell'.
The cinema opened on 13 November 1937 and was attended by the actress and singer Gracie Fields, who had been starring in a film that was being shot at the nearby Denham Studios. She made a personal appearance on stage at the opening performance, and sang a number of her songs. Ealing's mayor and mayoress also attended, as did several hundred local people who were given free tickets. There was a crowd of about 5,000 people at the opening, some of whom had waited for over two hours. They greeted Gracie Fields with tremendous applause.
The first films to be shown were Wake up and Live and King of the Gamblers. Prices for the seats in the stalls ranged from nine pence to one shilling and three pence. There were matinee performances on Saturday mornings, where children could attend for three pence. Performances began at 2pm on weekdays.
Sadly, the advent of mass television ownership in the 50s and 60s spelt the end of many cinemas. By 1959, the Granada was Greenford's only cinema and the cinema showed its last film on 15 September 1966. The building was then bought by Tesco and has been a supermarket ever since.
We would like to thank Dr Jonathan Oates, borough archivist and local history librarian, for the use of his information.