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TATLER CINEMA
(aka Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre)
(1911-1987)
105/7 Charing Cross Road, London WC2

Perhaps the "poshest" and most successful cinema of the Pyke Circuit was the Tatler in Charing Cross Road, which was even patronised by Queen Alexandra, albeit at a private showing, when a row of seats was removed for her convenience. But in 1915 tragedy struck when some waste film being packed in the basement for recycling caught fire, causing a large conflagration so fierce that it burned through the pavement outside.

The man packing the film died in the fire and the owner Montagu Pyke and his engineer were charged with manslaughter, of which they were subsequently acquitted. It was the beginning of the end of Pyke's Circuit; increased competition and the Great War affected the business and Pyke was driven into bankruptcy.

In the Fifties and Sixties I occasionally visited the cinema, which by then had become the Tatler News Theatre. In an hour or so's performance the programme, as in the half-a-dozen or so other "news theatres" then dotted around London's West End, consisted typically of a newsreel, a selection of comedy and documentary shorts, the odd cartoon and an episode of a Republic serial.

The venue is now a Wetherspoon pub named appropriately after Montagu Pyke himself, as can be seen in the above 2009 photograph.

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