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  • Writer's pictureEllen Cheshire

Cinemas Near Me: Muswell Hill, East Finchley and Finchley Road

This week’s work trip to London saw me in my old stomping ground of Muswell Hill and East Finchley. Therefore, there was no need to ask google what cinemas were near me. I knew only too well, having spent many an hour in the Muswell Hill Odeon (now Everyman) or the Phoenix East Finchley.

What I hadn't realised when I was hanging out in this part of London, for the first 30 years of my life, was that it also held an important part in the very early years of film history as the home (both domestically and industrially) of Robert Paul (aka RW Paul) and his wife Ellen. They lived and built their film studios in the Colney Hatch Lane / Sydney Road area of Muswell Hill. As one of my stopping off points was South Friern Library almost directly opposite, I had to take a few snaps. Thanks to The Cine-Tourist’s excellent research and blog 'My Local Filmmaker' finding the locations was a far simpler task!

They lived at 57 Colney Hatch Lane (now Muswell Hill International Food Centre) in 1903, and further down the road at 194 from 1904-1908.

Their businesses 'Newton Avenue Works' and 'Electrical Instrument Factory' were on Syndey Avenue, which is a side road off Colney Hatch Lane between 57 & 194.

You can watch via the BFI the Pauls having fun with music hall artiste Harry Lamore in 'Fun on the Clotheseline' (1897) which is thought to have been filmed at their Muswell Hill Studios.

Then I leapt on the bus (134 or a 43) up to Muswell Hill proper for a nose around the Muswell Hill Everyman, it’s changed a lot since its Odeon days! The last film I saw there was The Last Samurai on 17 January 2004.

Then back on another bus (234 or 102) to take me round to the Phoenix East Finchley – a cinema I have revisited far more often over the past 20 years! But always a nice place to stop for drink & a bite to eat if you’re in the area.

I then headed up to Waterloo to catch 29 Acacia Avenue (1945) at the BFI Southbank.

The previous day I’d been at JW3 a major arts venue on the Finchley Road to see Zoom Rockman’s Jewish Hall of Fame. I had a nose at their cinema auditorium, programming and importantly ticket prices and it’s now on my roster of London cinemas to visit. It’s on some useful bus routes (inc 13 & 113) and has a very lovely café too!


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