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The Capitol Theatre, 11-21 London Road, Forest Hill

Later - ABC / Mecca Bingo / Weatherspoon's

The former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

Above - The former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

An advertisement for the John Compton Organ Co., Ltd. mentioning that one of their Compton Organ's is installed at the Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill, amongst a plethora of other installations at a variety of Theatres all over the Country - From 'The Bioscope', August 1931.The Capitol Theatre, which is situated on London Road in Forest Hill, was built for London and Southern Cinemas, and designed in the Neo-Classical style by John Stanley Beard.

The Theatre, which was constructed on the site of three former houses called Prospect Villas, opened on the 11th of February 1929 with a showing of the 1927 film 'Man Woman and Sin', supported by an interlude which consisted of speeches by the local MP and Mayor, and a performance by Edgar Peto playing the Theatre's own Compton 2Manual/8Ranks Theatre Organ, which would remain in use at the Theatre until the late 1950s.

Right - An advertisement for the John Compton Organ Co., Ltd. mentioning that one of their Compton Organ's is installed at the Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill, amongst a plethora of other installations at a variety of Theatres all over the Country - From 'The Bioscope', August 1931.

Although built primarily as a Cinema for the showing of silent movies, the Theatre was also equipped with a small stage, 22 foot deep, for the staging of variety shows, which were shown right into the 1950s. The Theatre also had three dressing rooms for its artistes, and a cafe for its patrons. It wasn't long after it had opened however, that sound equipment was installed for the showing of the new 'Talking Pictures' along with its stage shows.

The Proscenium of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

Above - The Proscenium of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

In July 1933 the Theatre was taken over by ABC, but was only renamed as such in December 1968. ABC ran the Theatre for the remainder of its Cinema career but they finally closed it as a Cinema on the 13th of October 1973. The Theatre then remained empty for a number of years until it was eventually converted into a Mecca Bingo Hall, which opened in February 1978. Bingo eventually closed at the Theatre in 1996 however, and it was then empty again for a number of years until it was eventually refurbished and converted into a Pub by the Weatherspoon's chain who reopened it under its original name of 'The Capitol' in May 2001.

The auditorium and stage of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

Above - The auditorium and stage of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

The Rear Stalls and Circle of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

Above - The Rear Stalls and Circle of the former Capitol Theatre, Forest Hill - Today a Weatherspoon's Pub - Photo M.L. July 2017.

Weatherspoon's closed the pub in June 2014 and the building was put up for sale, but today it is open again thankfully, and still looking very nice inside and out considering its age and changes of use over the years.

Today the Capitol is a Grade II Listed building, run by J. D Weatherspoon. You may like to visit the Theatre's own Website here where there is also a very nice page on its history with many images.

Some of the information for this Theatre was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website where there are also some very nice images of the building over the years.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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