Going To The Pictures

The Bijou – East Street Waterloo

P35 28 the bijou web
The Bijou is a little known cinema which once stood on number 47 East Street in Waterloo next to what is The Volunteer Canteen today.

The building was erected in 1840 as a Methodist church and at the turn of the century became the headquarters of the Salvation Army, following this the building was used as a place for live entertainment known as The East Street Assembly Rooms.

In 1909 the building was acquired by Weber Son & Arnold who converted the building adding additional seating. On June 5th of that year the opening took place and being the districts first permanent place for live entertainment it became quite a significant event. The opening program included variety entertainment and animated pictures shown on a Cinematograph including Coney Island at Night, A Convict’s Comic Escape and A Sound Sleeper.

Architectural plans for The Bijou Cinema Waterloo

In 1910 the theater was renamed The New Pavilion until 1912 when the name The Bijou was reinstated coming under the control of manager William Eltroft who ran it as a cinema – The Bijou Electric Palace and later as The Bijou Cinema. The venue was popular despite its location and proximity to nearby cinema The Queens on South Road.

This photograph shows the former Bijou Cinema closed in 1922

Following the retirement of Mr. Eltoft the Bijou Cinema was taken over by a Mr. Walter Jackson until November 1922 when it closed as a cinema. The building was acquired by Brady’s Taxi’s Cabs and was then used a motor cycle repair shop until the late 1980′s. The original building was demolished and now two houses stand in its place.

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