Opening This Week: Walthamstow's Empire Cinema

By BethPH Last edited 42 months ago
Opening This Week: Walthamstow's Empire Cinema

empireWalthamstow will no longer be in one of London's only two cinema-less boroughs, as a nine-screen cinema at The Scene prepares to open on 20 November.

The new Empire cinema will be able to seat 1,200 as well as creating 35 jobs for the local area. Five further units will house shops, restaurants and 121 new homes, all built as part of the regeneration of Walthamtow's town centre.

The former EMD Granada cinema, which closed in 2002, has been the subject of a protracted battle between local residents, the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust (WFCT) and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. The latter's plans to turn the 1930s Grade II-listed site into a church were rejected and Waltham Forest council finally agreed to issue a compulsory purchase order. The Antic pub group announced last week they are in the process of buying the Granada by private sale. The WFCT have now teamed up with Soho Theatre to raise the £8m needed to turn it into an all-purpose arts venue, but the final plans remain to be seen.

The Empire Cinema will open to the public on 20 November, see their website for listings.

Photo by Matt from London in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 18 November 2014


Walthamstow isn't a borough, it's Waltham Forest

Bill McGarry

Never heard of The London Borough of Walthamstow before.....It must be a new one invented just for this article ;o)


@previous commenters: that's not what it says, it says "stow will no longer be in a cinema-less Borough".

I'm looking forward to going to the flicks there, I'm glad it wasn't turned into a church.

Steve Ellis

"Five further units will house shops, restaurants and 121 new homes"

So surely that's at least 125 further units — unless they've been built by the same company that made the Tardis?


Been in Walthamstow all my life and as much as it sounds like a good thing, i just think Community of people that live there now won't appreciate it as we did back in the day. its like we got over not having a cinema so there is no genuine need for it. i will go and have a gander, but I'm reserving full judgement until its been there for a while and hasn't been trashed by local youth and general riff raff.

Dr. Syntax

You guys really showed her . . . oh wait . . . no . . . I've been a fool. It says 'Walthamstow will no longer be IN one of London's only two cinema-less boroughs', 'in' being the key word here, oh the irony!


Er, the other borough is?


I've just been there. The screen rooms are very slow and seats are very close to the screen which I didn't like. They should've made less screen rooms but bigger. Not gonna go back there :(


Just on a point of accuracy, but an interesting one nonetheless, the Empire is the only purpose-built cinema now operating in the Borough of Waltham Forest. The Stow Film Lounge, which I run commercially, has been providing regular cinema in Walthamstow for two years now (as well as popping up in Leytonstone). From my experience audiences are seeking out different places to watch films as well as at the multiplexes. There is room for both in the marketplace.

Victoria Hall

It has been a bleak time without Cinema in Walthamstow and surrounding areas. I am so pleased to have a new one. No more long tube travel :)


The Empire cinema in Waltham Forest is a hit with me and many local residents: staff are friendly and polite, they go out of their way to help you; it's clean, cozy with a family warmth that cannot be felt in many cinemas; seating is generous and comfortable (even for a 6 foot man - not me, but my hubby) and the price of an adult ticket is good, just £8 for an adult ticket. What's more, I paid only £3 to park in the local underground car park, as apposed to almost £15 when I visited Westfield Stratford! I went to watch Annie with Jamie Fox and Quvenzhané Wallis. This contemporary Annie was great. Admittedly, it's just a remake of the original but good enough for a Christmas sing-a-long and a few chuckles! All things considered, the Empire cinema in Waltham Forest gets a resounding thumbs up from my sons, hubby and I. Come on residents, support your local cinema by paying it a visit today!

S Hans

I can't say I will be using the new facilities at Walthamstow as I prefer the short drive to the South Woodford Odeon with it's many free parking facilities. The thought of spending a few hours in the Empire with some of the types that roam Walthamstow market where the cinema is located is enough to send me running for the hills. Poorly researched article as factually inaccurate in so many aspects. For starters, Waltham Forest is the borough not Walthamstow. Also the site of the Empire is not the same as the site on which the Borough exercised its powers to compulsory purchase. Btw had that site been toted for a mosque, probably would have been granted planning permission.