Saturday 24 May 2008

The National Ballroom could make a comeback...

I'm told you could see queues down the Kilburn High Road at the peak of the cinema going 40's and 50's and oft course it is easy to forget that there were at least 4 cinema's.

The National was one of the most grand (though not as grand as the Gaumont State) and is still there today - only now as a church not a cinema.

Taking a walk around it you realise just how large and in fact dominant it is - an entire island off Grangeway that looms over Kilburn Grange Park.

Now it's a bit tatty and feels like it would benefit from a spruce up, but all the features are still there including the coloured glass windows.

It was first known as the Kilburn National Ballroom, then later as the Kilburn National Club, the National, with its distinctive dome, has played host to hundreds of major rock bands, from The Smiths to Nirvana to Blur.

There was even a short-lived music television programme broadcast live from the place in the 1980s.

In 1999 it was closed down after long legal battles over noise levels, and was converted into an evangelical Church which continues today.

Cinema's arouse great passion:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What makes you say it could make a comeback? The "Church" would have to go first.
It was so sad when the place closed down and those fundamentalists moved in. The original pastor was jailed for molesting schoolgirls and ripping off the finances. When they were closed down, his wife immediately opened up another "church" in a hall near Wembley. Very lucrative business.

Originally the place was the Grange Cinema. I remember it in it's Irish heyday as the place to go after Biddy's closed. Now Biddy Mulligans is being converted into flats by yet another offshore development company.