Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Cine Rio - Burnham

Still intrigued by the 80 year old cinema we stumbled on last week, I spent some time in the library yesterday going through a stack of Essex history books. I was drawing a blank for ages until I found a photo of Burnham High Street taken in the early 1930's. I was just about to turn the page when I did a double-take.... hold on, there on the left hand side, I recognise that building!

It would still have been The Princes cinema when this photo was taken.

My continued searching paid off, and I managed to find out a few more bits of information regarding the history of this building. Apparently it had another slight name change in 1937 when Francis Bertram took over the cinema, and renamed it The New Princes. CA & HA Sellers took over the auditorium in 1940, and in the late 60's Charles Crayford became the new owner, under the company name of Craydem Cinemas Ltd. It was Crayford who changed the name to The Rio, chosen to compliment the other cinema he owned - The Rio on Canvey Island. Andy Whyatt took the cinema over in 1979, and is possibly still in charge today. Meaning this cinema has remained as an independent for the whole 80 years!

I also found this picture, taken around the time that Andy Whyatt took charge:

Taken from almost the same spot as I took mine on Friday....



Anonymous said...

You need to bag yourself a little informal interview with todays owner Piley! If anyone can..you can.

Dave W said...

I've been to Burnham a few times, but don't think I've ever seen this cinema.
Hope you continue unearthing its history. The last poster, Jacqui took the words out of my mouth -- You simply must meet the new owner for a chat. Who knows where that will lead...

Keep up the good work, P.

Mondo said...

Blimey, it hasn't changed a bit. But why the bush in the side-door - what's that about?

Heff said...

Wow. The color makes that building look ALOT less shitty !

John Medd said...

I bet they still have show Gone With The Wind and Jaws on the first and last Saturday of the month.

Cocktails said...

Come on, when are you going? I'm getting impatient now!

Piley said...

JJ\DW - Do you know, it hadn't even crossed my mind, but am thinking about it now! There could be some great stories to be found about this fab building.

Mondo - the 'ol Bush\Cinema thing was all the rage back in the day!

Heff - is that a compliment? It's so hard to tell these days ;-)

JM - what is it with you and Jaws??! I will find out just in case!

Just as soon as 'auntie Cocktails' pops round to babysit, we'll be off over there I can assure you!


Mondo said...

I've said it before and I'll keep saying until you go - get yourself to the Southwold Electric Picture Palace

office pest said...


Leather sofas on the back row Piley?

Steady on!

Piley said...

Ok, ok... Mondo, i'll DO IT!!!

Cheers for that link OP, some great reviews there. Just had to 'cut and paste' the one from 'essex girl', if you are not already tempted just read this!

"Its quite hard to describe the Rio Cinema. Basically its a little independent cinema that I guess was built around the 1920/1930’s and it hasnt changed much. It has two screens and the larger one has leather settees at the back which makes for very comfortable viewing. The tickets are around £2 (a little more for newer films) so it is fantastic value for money. The sweets on sale rival Tesco for value so no point trying to smuggle in your own supplies.
Its like going to a museum as well as a cinema, the building does need a complete overhaul but if they do do it I hope that dont change the feel of the Rio. Feel very lucky that we have this locally and the whole family can go for less than half the price of the larger cinemas."