For those of you that live in Southfields or pass through on a daily basis, you may have noticed that Rileys Pool Hall just around the corner from Southfields Tube Station is boarded up... but there's a little more to it that meets the eye...
The building itself was built just short of 100 years ago in 1917 and first opened as the Lyceum Cinema. The cinema was an icon for the local community and up until 1968 it was known as the Southfields Plaza to which today, it's the now former venue of Rileys pool hall. Funny enough I've played a game or two there never really knowing the history behind it even though much of the inside especially the ceiling was pretty much the same as it was back then. However just recently Rileys Pool Hall went into administration which will leave the building vacant and available to be occupied.
Now the problem here is that, as per usual, the minute you have a vacant building of this size the supermarket groups move in, gut the place and voila you have yet another supermarket exploiting the local community. So before this happens the local community have decided that they want to restore the building to its former glory in the form of a cinema much like awesome HMV Curzon, Electric in Notting Hill or Everyman in Hampstead, where quite honestly, once you've experienced the comfort and top quality awesomeness of one of these cinemas, you won't really want to go back to the usual cinemas with uncomfortable chairs and everything else that comes with it other than just being able to concentrate on watching a good movie.
Check out the summary of the business plan to be put in place
Built in 1917, the Lyceum Cinema in Southfields was seen as a cornerstone of the local Southfields community, attracting thousands of local residents each week.
In 2010, Riley’s Pool Hall went into administration putting this once glamorous venue at risk of becoming another high street supermarket or bar franchise. Concerned residents of Southfields have pooled their knowledge, skills and financial resource to restore the Lyceum to its former glory and as the village’s main destination for evening entertainment – to be known as the “Southfields Plaza.”
The Southfields Plaza will aim to provide entertainment to the wider Southfields community by providing screenings of a wide variety of films. The intention is to screen current, second run and classic movies in the evenings and balance this with films targeted at families and children during the day. The facility will play host to a number of short film festivals and will participate in the London Film festival. The facility is further expected to host film premiers as well as host sessions by Directors to bring the “movie magic” experience into the community.
The facility will be equipped with digital screening equipment, which would also allow for the broadcasting of major sporting events such as the Olympics, World Cup tournaments, the Ashes, racing, boxing and of course Wimbledon. The facility will be air-conditioned with luxury single and double couches and server fresh food daily. It is anticipated that this facility would be extremely attractive during the Wimbledon week.
Digital also allows cheap showing of DVD’s to form special evenings: Such as “Twilight Nights”, “Tarantino Tear Ups” or on special days such as Mothers Day “Mums Sunday Afternoon” and Halloween: “Nightmare Night”.
Schools and corporate will have access to a world class auditorium in close proximity to major transport hubs.
How awesome is that, definitely better than yet another supermarket franchise.
Now as this is a community driven effort, you have a chance to get involved and make this happen.
So if you're interested, check out this flyer here for an open meeting that is to be held this Tuesday 23rd November at GARDENS TENNIS CLUB, 343 WIMBLEDON PARK ROAD at 8pm, more details on the flyer.