Your cinema memories – Going to the ‘Pictures’ in Upper Norwood

Granada programme

Cinema can evoke powerful memories, freeze framing moments in our lives and dropping us back into a time, a place or social situation. These memories can provide a rich source of historical and cultural information. They are fun to read too!

We are collecting your cinema memories.  If you have any memories of going to the ‘Pictures’ in Upper Norwood then please do leave a reply below and we will share them on our Cinema memories page over the coming months.

We’ve started to go through our old website and here are some of the memories of the cinemas on Church Road ( in their various incarnations) which we have collated so far. More to come, and if you would like to know a little about the cinemas in the area back in the day, check out out Jerry Green’s post The Silver Screens of Crystal Palace in our Community Blog.



“I used to go to Saturday morning cinema here as a child and we would sit upstairs, you could throw your popcorn at the other kids very successfully from up high !!!!! When it was Granada bingo it would get quite busy and all the downstairs tables were taken so you would have to go to the seats upstairs and shout really loud if your numbers came up !” Jackie Rogers, 17 January 2010



“When I was a boy brought up and living in South Norwood between 1927 and 1951, there were two cinemas near the Crystal Palace, both in Church Road. They were next door to each other, the Rialto and the Albany. We used to go up there quite often via the Robin Hood, first by tram, and then by trolley bus.” Charles WJ, 13 September 2010


“I can remember when this cinema and what became a car show rooms were both going. I saw my first two X films at this cinema (underage) but they were only House of Wax and Phantom of the Rue Morgue I am sure Doctor Who is more scary.” David Rayfield, 22 September 2010


Upper Norwood cinema

Upper Norwood cinema


I left England in the 70′s as a teen, having been born & bred in Crystal Palace & one of my fondest memories as a child was Saturday morning pictures at the Granada (I think it was then)! We bought bubble gum from the machine outside the news agent and sucked on frozen Jubilees – I remember the naughty boys in the back used to lob their half-melted jubilees into the midst of the other kids right in the part where the film got quiet! I came home for my 1st visit in 2009 and will definitely be back just to see a film in the old place! My heart is with 25 Church Road! Good luck in your endeavour.” Karen Ramsey (Stone), 5 February 2011

“I was born, raised and lived in Crystal Palace all of my life. When I was a child I used to go to the Saturday Matinee for kids every week and it was a haven for us children.” Doni, 7 August  2012


2 Responses to Your cinema memories – Going to the ‘Pictures’ in Upper Norwood

  1. Mike Conrad December 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Born in a nursing home (now a fire station) on Knights Hill in May 1933 I have lived in Norwood
    all my life and from a very early age was a devotee of the Cinema.The Saturday morning cinema at the Rialto was a great treat and not to be missed. If you hadn’t got the money to get in you waited until a paying friend had opened the fire exit. Behaviour was very boisterous but accepted by management. Serials made being there the following week essential and at times one felt desperate if funds were low. Later I became addicted to main stream cinema and many the time I stood in the entrance asking a friendly looking couple. “can yo take me in please”. Another aspect of early cinema was the interval live entertainment. one of these was Zodiac exponent who enthralled me. i bought a book of my birth sign and later was troubled to read of a future full of doom. Then I realised that I had bought a the wrong birth sign. Relief. There ended my interest in the subject.
    Today I would love to have a cinema back in Norwood, We go to Streatham and the Ritzy in Brixton but to be able to walk to the cinema and give some business to a local restaurant afterwards would be total satisfaction.The church group have done a very sympathetic conversion of the cinema but what they are offering is a fudge. My family just want a cinema back, full stop.

  2. Paul Lloyd December 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    I, like many other kids in the 60’s, attended Saturday morning flicks. As has already been noted, it was a rowdy affair but it was the thrill of anticipation for when one of the favourite weekly features came on. There would always be split camps, of course no fun without a bit of tribalism. My mum or one of my family friends would always be there to pick us up, usually Bill in his Austin Maxi. I would always cadge a twopenny piece (or was it sixpence, maybe a threepenny piece?) to put into the slot in the shop opposite that would activate the model railway that sat within. For reasons too personal to enter into now, my first ‘proper’ film that I went to unattended was The Jungle Book. I have bittersweet memories as it was the first time I came across bullying. I was waylaid by a bunch of lads by the cafes on the parade. That was when I realized I had a good turn of speed compared to others! My mother was away at that time and when she returned she offered to take me to the cinema as recompense for her abscence. We went to see The Jungle Book with her new boyfriend!

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