Movie lovers have been flocking to the new Ealing Picturehouse, after more than a decade of waiting.
After 15 years of hard work, the doors of the new 8-screen cinema, café, and bar finally swung open to the public on 20 October.
Ealing has a deep-rooted connection to the world of film. The London film industry took its maiden steps here, with Ealing Studios still proudly standing as the world’s oldest continuously operating film production facility. The Ealing Picturehouse adds to this legacy and its location holds a rich history itself, with the original 2,175-seat Forum ‘picture palace’ cinema first constructed in 1934.
The journey to bring the Ealing Picturehouse to life was a challenge. Empire Cinemas took over in 2005 and closed the cinema in September 2008. Several proposals were made to redevelop the site – with planning permission granted 3 times between 2004 and 2010.
The project even got underway in the late 2000s, but following demolition works on the development unfortunately halted in March 2009.
Ealing Council was determined to keep the project progressing, and it sought to enforce a completion notice in May 2010. In February 2011, the council took control of the YMCA building in Bond Street, next door. Then finally, after years of warnings, in 2012 the council used a compulsory purchase order to take over the scheme. This move ultimately led to the project being acquired by St George in 2016. New and final plans were then submitted in 2017.
This long and potted history is a story of perseverance, and the council is grateful Picturehouse cinemas for staying the course and helping to make the dream of a new cinema in Ealing a reality.
Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council, said: “The opening of Ealing Picturehouse is a testament to our rich cultural and cinematic history and our ongoing commitment to culture in our borough.
“It is a central part of the development of a £100million cultural quarter and helps solidify Ealing’s status as a hub for arts and entertainment.
“However, it’s has more than just rich historical and cultural significance. The new cinema will have an economic impact, too. It will create employment opportunities, attract visitors, and contribute to the local economy. It’s a boost for businesses in the area, from restaurants and shops to hotels, benefiting from the increased numbers of visitors attracted by the cinema.”