Surrey and Sussex Picture Palaces Ltd
1910 Kingston Picture Theatre
Surrey and Sussex Picture Palaces were formed in March 1910 with the intention of opening
cinemas and theatres in the south east of England.
The initial plan was to build three new theatres in Kingston upon Thames, Merton and East Twickenham.
The first of these theatres to open was the Kingston Picture Theatre situated on the corne of Cromwell and Richmond Roads.
The company engaged the services of architect Walter Charles Phillips of Kingston for this
and the forthcoming theatres planned for Merton and East Twickenham.
The Kingston Picture Theatre is shown below photographed in 1928. The cinema is next door to Kingston Bus Station. In the 1930’s the theatre became the Kingston Kinema and in the 1970’s was known as Studio 7.
In later years the building was demolished to be replaced by a modern
1910 Merton Picture Theatre
The second theatre to open was the Merton Picture Theatre which became The Abbey Picture Theatre. It was located adjascent to the skating rink which later became The Wimbledon Palais. The cinema later became The Plaza Merton but by 1934 had become The Merton Stadium Social & Sports Club. Following WW2 became an engineering works but has since been demolished.
The image below dates from 1929 and shows The Plaza Cinema in Merton High Street with its distinctive twin domed towers.
1912 company ceases business
Surrey and Sussex Picture Palaces success seems to have been short lived. After the successful opening of both the Kingston and Merton theatres construction of the Gaiety Cinema in East Twickenham was well advanced when the company found itself in financial difficulties. All assets of the company were sold off in 1912 including the partly built Gaiety Cinema.