Sequence: The Rise and Fall of The Palais Cinema

Self-initiated project | 2014 | Digital rendering
This sequence was originally inspired by the lyrics to the song "Come Dancing" by The Kinks. It shows the same imaginary plot of land, set in London, as it changes over time between the turn of the 20th century and the present day. The main focus is the cinema building at the centre, which is shown as newly built in the second image (c.1920s) and is subsequently redeveloped and eventually demolished over following decades. I was also inspired by issues in London today which I take a great interest in - particularly the threat that modern developments pose to heritage buildings, as well many real life examples of impressive old suburban cinema and theatre buildings that no longer exist. I carefully researched and included many period details for each image, including the dress of the figures, vehicles in the street, styles of architecture and shop signage.

Part 1: c.1900. The street corner as it appeared before the Palais Cinema was built. A centuries-old pub, "The Coach and Horses", stands on the corner, with stables, workshops and a small field to the rear. Various small shops line the street. A newly-built Victorian parade of shops stands to the left. Horse-drawn cabs pass by along the cobbled street in the foreground.

Part 2: c.1920s. The newly-built Palais Cinema stands proud and dominant in centre, on the site of the stables. The old "Coach and Horses" pub has been rebuilt in the period style. Of the shop buildings, only the parade on the left and the small building beside the viaduct survive the redevelopment. Motor vehicles pass by along the newly tarmac-covered street.

Part 3: post-WWII, c.1950s. The cinema has suffered some bomb damage during the war, but business continues despite being increasingly dilapidated. A section of the parade on the left has been demolished and stands vacant. The tramlines in the street have been removed and the road resurfaced.

Part 4: c.1970s. The old cinema building has been converted into a bowling alley, and its former entrance lobby has been subdivided into smaller shops; its facade has also been remodelled and its cupola removed. A new modern building of cheap quality has been built beside the pub on the left. A Routemaster bus passes in the foreground, whilst a tube train passes over the railway viaduct.

Part 5: c.2000s. The old cinema building has been completely demolished and its entire site is vacant for development. The neighbourhood has experienced a period of decline and neglect, as attested by the vacant shop premises, fly-postings and graffiti. The "Coach and Horses" pub has also closed down and is now a restaurant.

Part 6: present day. An oversized apartment block with a supermarket on the ground floor has been built on the site of the old cinema building. Some improvements to the streetscape have also been completed, including new paving, planted saplings and removal of metal railings. The old "Coach and Horses" pub has been refurbished and reopened as "The Snooty Cow". A section of the road in the foreground has been appropriated for a new Cycle Superhighway, while a "New Bus For London" passes by in the foreground.

A composite of all six images in the sequence.