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234 Kilburn High Road, London NW6

At its opening in 1914, the 2028-seater Grange was one of the largest cinemas in the whole of Europe. It was designed in baroque style by Edward A. Stone, who later designed the Astoria cinemas, as well as the Maida Vale Picture House a mile or so down the road. The Grange's very first feature was the silent She Stoops to Conquer, supported by the Keystone Cops and accompanied by the cinema's own organ. Stalls were 1s (5p) and 1s 6d (7½p), circle 2s (10p), and there were children's Saturday morning matinees for 6d (2½p). In succeeding years the building underwent several modifications, including a widening of the proscenium and the installation of new dressing rooms.

By the late Twenties, film shows were being supported by live variety acts. In 1929 the Grange was taken over by Gaumont British, who installed Western Electric sound. In 1937 stiff competition came with the construction just down the road of the enormous Gaumont State, with 4004 seats, but the Grange carried on successfully throughout World War 2. By the late Sixties its programmes were tending towards the "fleapit" type of fare. In those days I used to travel round London in pursuit of terrible old Bela Lugosi films and it was at the Grange that I tracked one of them down. I can't remember which film it was now but the eye-opener was the support (?) feature Hey Boy! Hey Girl!, an unbelievably naff vehicle for the American bandleader Louis Prima and his singer wife, Keely Smith. It remains one of my favourite enjoyably-bad movies.

The Grange finally closed in 1975, reopening the next year as a night-club. Later it became an Irish-style dance hall and is now home to the Victory Christian Centre, making the Grange one of at least three cinemas in the north-west London area to have been taken over by religious organisations.

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