Friday, 1 October 2010

An Unexpected Step Back In Time

Well here's an unexpected little find... We braved the weather today for a drive out to the wonderfully sleepy town of Burnham (which sits on the north bank of the River Crouch in Essex).

This lovely little old fishing town has an instant time warp feel to it, and apart from a very 'out-of-place' looking Tesco (which looks as though it is a converted petrol station), the high street is pretty much completely made up of independent shops and restaurants. And it was whilst trudging through the wind and rain that this little oasis appeared...

A genuine independent cinema! It opened in 1931 as the Princes Cinema with seating for 475. In the late 60's it was renamed the Cine Rio, which it still remains today. In the late 70's it was given a refurb, and now has a main auditorium (seating 220) and a smaller second screen (seating 60).

Alas it's not open during the day on weekdays, so there was no chance of a little peek inside. However I was able to take a few shots through the window. I love everything about it...

I love that the walls are adorned with pictures from the Golden Age of Hollywood...

I love that there appears to be a table lamp, a statuette and some fresh flowers in the foyer...

and I love love LOVE the cup of salt next to the pop corn, so that you can 'salt your own'.

And you can keep your glossy A1 Odeon listings posters, I'd settle for a weekly handwritten list of 'whats on' any time. Brilliant.

This cinema oozed more character in the five minutes that I gazed at it (and it wasn't even open!), than my local Odeon has oozed since it was built in the 90's. Just looking at that old fashioned kiosk brought back so many memories of cinemas gone by.

I came home and excitedly hit the net, ready to learn all about the long and proud history of this old, purpose built cinema.... but no website (I'm not THAT surprised about that), no fan site, no articles, no mention on any Burnham on Crouch sites, in fact, no nothing! All I did find was this picture of the Cine Rio looking a lot brighter than it currently does, although worryingly, it was only taken a couple of years back, in 2008 (perhaps it was more to do with the difference in weather).

Cine Rio 2008


Cine Rio October 2010

I am determined to go back soon to catch a film there. It's a 45 mile round trip from Piley Towers, but I'd rather that than visit the Southend Odeon any day. I wonder if this 80 year old building could help cure my self imposed cinema ban??
Piley

17 comments:

John Medd said...

It looks like one of those garish chapels where you'd get married by an Elvis look-a-like. Are they still showing Jaws?

Piley said...

Don't think that one's come around yet JM! Saw a 'coming soon' poster for The Man With The Golden Gun... And something of a hoo-har about some new film called The Life of Brian, the residents are planning to protest... ;-)

Mondo said...

Blimey they love a sign there don't they. No chance of salt deficiency either - salt on the counter, popcorn and forthcoming attractions (12a).

Like the way they've badged the cup, ermmm, salt dispenser 'For Popcorn' like you'd fancy a pinch for anything else?

I'd hope see Film Review mags behind the counter, Fruit Gums sold in boxes and Mivvis in the Ice Cream section.

Piley said...

yeah, I thought that having the film 'Salt' on was quite apt! Maybe it's the house regular film...

Love that salt cup! I wonder what the protocol is for it? do they perhaps provide a tea spoon, or do you 'take a pinch' as though it were snuff or somat?! Don't think I'll be having a dip after everyone else has had a go.

Couldn't see behind the counter, but fully expect a rack of Kia-Ora drinks in plastic cups with a film lid and straw. Best served warm.. Mmmm!

Heff said...

Sorry, I'm so damn drunk i've got "eye issues" much like yourself right now, and can't currently read...


But I DID make out the post title, and it's the STORY OF MY LIFE !!!

Tell Colin Gillman "Heff says HELLO" !

"PSSHHHHTTT !!"

(that was another BEER being opened, BTW.....)

Love,

Heffy McBuschlight.

John Devlin said...

Bliss - absolute bliss, great find Piley. I'd love a cinema like that near to me down here in Kent. Reminds me of a place I discovered in New Zealand where you have a meal and a few drinks and then go in to see the film. Very civilised...

colin said...

Wonder if they still show the old Pearl & Dean ads... Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa-Pa-Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa, Pa Pa...PA! :)

office pest said...

Nice find Piley; there's a liddle mention here:

http://www.burnham.org.uk/cinema.htm

and listings down the page here:

http://www.essexstage.co.uk/burnham-on-crouch-rio.html

Box of Weekend "chocs 'n candies" would go down well right now.

http://www.johnsadverts.co.uk/mackintoshs-week-end-chocolates-retro-1959-advert-4579-p.asp

Piley said...

cheers Heffy... Burp!

JD - I've yet to find out what the clientele is like of course (it COULD still be the same talking, chatting, munching, texting, arsing about-ing idiots that I grew tired of in Southend... but hopefully not). Will be sure to report back once I've been.

Colin - they better! (note perfect by the way!). And if they follow it up with 'ere Bert, this is the place..." I'll be in heaven!

Great links OP, many thanks (good to see you about again too).

P

Furtheron said...

what a brilliant building! I hope it stays intact for a long time to come

Just Jacqui said...

Lovely.
My dad has found a little cinema in Ireland which he discribes as like being in someones front room, comfortable slightly reclining chairs and you can take your glass of Merlot (or pint of Guinness) in with you..brilliant.

Piley said...

F-Ron - no idea how 'business' is. Burnham has a small population, only 7000, so very small for a cinema, but am guessing if all the locals use it, then it could be quite healthy (it's done alright for the last 80 years anyway!).

JJ - brilliant that these little gems are still out there here and there isn't it? Much to the annoyance of Odeon no doubt (yay!)

Cocktails said...

This place is absolutely intriguing. I wonder who owns it - one person or perhaps it's a local co-op run by the members?

Anyhow, you have to go and report back for us. And make sure you have a go at the salt!

Piley said...

I did some more research yesterday Cocktails, and it looks like it's owned by one man. In fact, it's only had a handful of owners in it's 80 year history. Will report back just as soon as I get to see a film there (and will also give a taste test on the popcorn!)

Martin said...

Sounds like you've had a bit of a find there. Kia-Ora drinks and fruit gums in boxes eh, that takes me back a bit. Does sound like it could be a pleasant change from the Odeon in Southend.

Anonymous said...

I live in Burnham on Crouch and we love the cinema. There are 2 screens and you can but popcorn and coffee and enjoy the film from leather sofas. It is only £3 and you do not get endless adverts before the start. If you do decide to come back why not stay in the recently renovated thatched cottages - a 20 min walk from the cinema. There in 1543 you will be able to walk further back in time! (thethatched cottages.co.uk)

Piley said...

Martin - I just don't bother with the Odeon anymore, it's not what I could call an enjoyable evening at all anymore.

Anon - many thanks for the extra info. Still not been yet, but we will! The cottage sounds amazing! Wonder if they do weekend breaks or if its just weeks? Will look into it.

P