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The Gaumont Palace Cinema, 9, The Broadway, High Road, Wood Green

Later - The Gaumont Theatre / Odeon Cinema / Mecca Bingo / The Dominion Centre

Also see - The Wood Green Empire

A Google StreetView Image of the former Gaumont Palace Cinema, Wood Green - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the former Gaumont Palace Cinema, Wood Green - Click to Interact

 

The Wood Green Gaumont's Organ Console which is today located in the Ballroom of the Thorngate Halls, Gosport - Courtesy Peter Buckles. The Gaumont Palace, Wood Green was designed by the architects William Edward Trent and Ernest F. Tulley and opened on the 26th of March 1934 with the films 'The Constant Nymph' and 'Love, Honor and Oh Baby', and a variety show on the Cinema's fully equipped stage. The Theatre's Art Deco auditorium, built on two levels, stalls and one circle, was capable of seating 2,256 people.

The Cinema was also equipped with its own Compton 3 Manual / 12 Rank organ (Shown Right).

Right - The Wood Green Gaumont's Organ Console which is today located in the Ballroom of the Thorngate Halls, Gosport - Courtesy Peter Buckles. The console is on four castors and is rolled out from its “garage” between the two pipe chambers. More information at the Gosport and District Organ Club.

 

The circle of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett

Above - The circle of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett

The entrance to the Gaumont was situated in the middle of a row of shops and on entering the building patrons were greeted by a large foyer, which gave access to a restaurant and cafe above, and the auditorium which was parallel with the row of shops beside the building's frontage.

The Stage and Proscenium Arch of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett

Above - The Stage and Proscenium Arch of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett

The Safety Curtain, now locked into place above the Proscenium of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett.The stage, which was flanked by a large semi circular proscenium arch, had a width of 80 foot and a depth of 30 foot, with a fully equipped fly tower and grid above with Frank Birkit counterweighting, Rae stage curtain controllers and a safety curtain (Shown Right) which still exists but is now locked into position. The Theatre also had eight dressing rooms for when it was used for live performances.

Right - The Safety Curtain, now locked into place above the Proscenium of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett.

Open during the war years the Wood Green Gaumont and its audience had a very narrow escape one Saturday morning. A visitor to the site, Joan Matthews, who was a regular visitor to the Theatre when a child, writes: 'I remember in the war years my brother and I would go to the Gaumont on Saturday mornings, this particular morning a bomb came through the ceiling and went through the floor and did not explode, my brother was sitting in the front row at the time. Apart from being filthy from all the debris he was unhurt, he is now living in Australia and comes over here to visit me, we are both in our 80's, but he remembers this very well and often talk about it and how lucky he was.' Joan Matthew 2010.

 

The unexploded bomb which fell on the Wood Green Gaumont Cinema during the Second World War - Courtesy Tim Clarke

Above - The unexploded bomb which fell on the Wood Green Gaumont Cinema during the Second World War - Courtesy Tim Clarke who says:- 'The unexploded bomb from Wood Green was restored by my father and came into my possession, I have it on display at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum in West Sussex.'

In 1954 the name was changed to the simpler Gaumont Theatre and in 1962 it was renamed Odeon. The original restaurant above the foyer was converted into a dance studio between the name changes and in 1966 the Theatre's organ was removed and rehoused in the Twickenham College of Technology. The organ would later find another new home in the Thorngate Halls in Gosport, Hampshire.

The Grid of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett.In 1973 the Cinema, still under the Odeon name, was tripled by building a wall beneath the front of the circle so that the main cinema now occupied the circle and the former front stalls with a capacity of 814. Two smaller screens were fitted in the former rear stalls with a capacity of 149 and 150.

Left - The Grid of the former Gaumont Palace, Wood Green, during renovation work in 2009 - Courtesy Christian Drewett.

On the 7th of January 1984 the Cinemas all closed and the building was then converted back into a single auditorium for Bingo use.

Mecca Bingo closed its operations in the building in the summer of 1996 and the building then lay empty for three years until it was converted for church use, with the foyer and former restaurant being used as a nightclub.

The Dominion centre, as the building is now known, has recently gone through some extensive refurbishment, and is Grade II* Listed.

You may like to visit the Website of the Dominion Centre here.

Some of the information on this page was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website. Internal photographs were very kindly sent in by Christian Drewett.

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

 

You may find the following pages from this site of interest: