History of 25 Church Road

The Back Story

On Saturday 6th October 1928, the Rialto opened with the silent film Ramona, starring Dolores del Río.


Two film stars were special guests at the ceremony – Anna May Wong


and John Stuart.


Alfred Charles Matthews, an Australian, had designed and built the 1,400-seat cinema, one of several that he owned in South London. He later bought Wadhurst Castle in Sussex. The style is neoclassical, with hints of art deco.


On 11th September 1950, the cinema reopened as the Granada Upper Norwood, after a redesign by leading cinema architect, George Coles.


The cinema closed on 26th May 1968. Its last film was Reflections in a Golden Eye, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.


25 Church Road then became Granada Bingo.


From May 1991, the building was Gala Bingo, largely unchanged from a cinema.


In June 2009, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) bought the building, taking it out of leisure use for the first time in over eighty years.

The Picture Palace Campaign would love to bring  a cinema back 25 Church Road for the whole community to enjoy.

A leading independent cinema operator still wants to come to Crystal Palace.

25 Church Road Cinema

Here’s to bringing a cinema back to 25 Church Road, where it belongs.