The Victoria Music Hall opens in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, hosting dances, concerts and theatre performances.
The first film is screened at the venue.
The building is converted to create the area’s first dedicated cinema.
The site is completely redeveloped and reopens as the Music Hall Granada Chain Cinema Variety, holding 2,700 people.
Built in 1930, the exterior is designed by Cecil Masey, with the ornate interior decoration by Theodore Komisarjevsky, and is inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. It features a Christie organ which is played before screenings.
Majestic and awe-inspiring inside and out, it hosts variety performances for the local population.
The opening evening celebrations include comedy, panto, drag, music and film, marking the venue as a multi-purpose cine-variety building in Waltham Forest.
1950s & 60s
From the mid-1950s to the 60s the building receives a design makeover, with biggies playing here like the Beatles, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbinson, Dusty Springfield, The Who, The Ronettes, Chuck Berry, Duke Ellington, Cilla Black and the Rolling Stones.
The Beatles perform in 1963 with a set list including Twist and Shout, Can’t Buy Me Love and A Hard Day’s Night.
It becomes a well-known venue for music and gigs for the next 30 years. During this time, for over 10 years, the building also puts on a pantomime every Christmas-time.
From the late 60s onwards, the Granada changes ownership several times, becoming primarily a cinema.
The stalls area at the bottom of the cinema is closed.
Two smaller screens are eventually added downstairs, by building a false wall at the back of the stalls. This allows the cinema to show multiple releases at once and makes the business more financially viable.
The last live performance in the main auditorium takes place.
The cinema changes ownership several times, including a phase as part of the Odeon chain, finally becoming the EMD cinema.
The EMD cinema at first shows only foreign language films, including a large Bollywood programme, and the interiors are refurbished in bright South Asian-inspired colours. Later, it returns to showing English language films and the blockbusters of the day.
English Heritage awards the building Grade II* listed status.
The EMD closes its doors, to be bought by a church group which plans to turn the site into a church.
During the years it is left empty, the interior and the famous Christie organ fall into disrepair. Local resident groups campaign to see the building’s continued use as an entertainment venue.
Waltham Forest Council is presented with a vision of the building’s future from Waltham Forest Cinema Trust and Soho Theatre.
A decisive public planning inquiry rules in favour of the building as a viable entertainment venue.
The church group sells the building, which includes the Victoria pub and attached shop.
The bar and one of the small screen cinemas open as Mirth, Marvel and Maud allowing the public to once again enjoy the splendour of the foyer areas.
Soho Theatre and Waltham Forest Council develop plans to acquire, restore and run the venue as an exciting new cultural hub.
The plans include restoring the auditorium and main foyer, while adding additional backstage facilities and new community spaces, all with state of the art facilities.
The Council purchases the building and works in partnership with Soho Theatre to renovate and refurbish the building.
In May 2019, the public can book on to free tours of the building, glimpsing inside the auditoirum for the first time in 15+ years, and take a virtual tour of what the finished spaces will look like.
Soho Theatre moves into new office premises at Hatherley Mews, designed by local resident and designer Jane Wheeler.
The office forms part of the E17 Art Trail as well as other festival events, where residents can drop in to chat to the team and find out more about the development plans.
The name of the new venue is revealed – Soho Theatre Walthamstow, a local theatre with a national profile.
The new venue is scheduled to open for the public in 2024.
Our brand new venue
See where we're up to refurbishing the old Walthamstow Granada into a state-of-the-art 21st century comedy venue in the heart of the Waltham Forest community - Soho Theatre Walthamstow.