Tag Archives: Majestic

Joseph Owen

Born 1880, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

Married 1908 to Susannah Young in Colchester.

In the 1911 census, Joseph Owen, aged 31, lived at 11 The Crescent, Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey, with his wife Susannah, 31, and their son Arnold, 1. His occupation was civil engineer and surveyor with the London County Council.

A public family tree on Ancestry.com says that he went to Canada between 1912 and 1915 and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railways.

On his return he lived in Ashbourne Road, and took part in starting the North Mitcham Improvement Association in 1919, as told in its history, written by A.H. Bailey:

Mr Joseph Owen, of 89 Ashbourne Road, came to Mitcham in the early days of the war, from Canada; he had, however, lived in the neighbourhood before going abroad. He was one of the parents of the Association. He added to his great abilities as a civil engineer remarkable enterprise and push. To him, more than anyone else, was due the acquisition of land and erection of Halls for the Association.

An Electoral committee was formed, Mr Owen was nominated, the ward was canvassed as it had never been before for a local election and Mr Owen was returned on a poll of 838 against 428 for the party ticket. His majority considerably exceeded the total votes cast for a victor the previous April.

Mr Owen’s municipal career was brilliant; he became Chairman of the Highways Committee and remained in that office during the years that Mitcham developed at its greatest rate. He pressed for public baths and, but for him, Mitcham would not have had the public library when it did. Mitcham has its quota of ratepayers only; but Mr Owen resolved the problem by giving the site and half the cost, he also presented Sherwood Park Recreation Ground to the Council and endowed a bed at the hospital.

Incidentally it may be mentioned that the Library was largely Mrs Owen’s design. Mr Owen reached the Chair of the District Council and was a County Councillor. Mr Owen, who in his private capacity, was responsible for the building development of what are now the Long Thornton and Pollards Hill Wards. The Majestic Cinema was erected largely by the efforts of the first N.M.I.A. Councillor.

Later he took up residence at Pentlands, St Georges Road, Mitcham.

In 1926 he started the Tamworth Park Construction Company.

He put up the cost of the Mitcham Library, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 03 July 1930:-

LIBRARY GIFT.

By the munificence of Councillor Joseph Owen the “village” is to have a public library. He has given a site for one in London-road, opposite the Holborn Schools, and is willing to pay the cost of the building, less only the amount expected to be obtained from Government grant. The sketch plans, drawn up by a local firm, provide for a figure extension when required, even, perhaps, to the addition of a museum. Mitcham is changing so amazingly rapidly that a place for storing tangible hits of its history—in picture, photo, wood, metal, stone — is due in the interests of future generations.

In the 1939 register he lived at 20 Beeches Walk, Carshalton.

He died in 1943, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 4th February 1943

Death has claimed Mr. Joseph Owen former Chairman of Mitcham U.D. Council. He gave the borough its public library site, and. provided about half the cost of the building. Sherwood Park Recreation Ground was another gift. With Mrs. Owen, he endowed a bed in the Wilson Hospital. For a time Mr. Owen was a representative of Mitcham on Surrey Comity Council. He developed housing in Mitcham and was chiefly responsible for the town getting an up-to-date cinema theatre.

20 Beeches-walk, Carshalton, Surrey, died 21 January 1943 at Kingslea Nursing Home, Mulgrave Road, Sutton, Surrey.

Probate Llandudno 12 July to Susannah Owen widow and Arnold Courtney Owen, chartered civil engineer. Effects £8,760 1s. 1d.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

Lancaster Gate School of Dancing

Opened at the Majestic Cinema ballroom on 15th December 1950.

Norwood News – Friday 08 December 1950
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

GRAND OPENING
DON STEVONI & PAT CHANDLER
(Principals LANCASTER GATE SCHOOL OF DANCING)

Have pleasure in announcing the opening of their new School at
THE BALLROOM, MAJESTIC CINEMA
Fair Green, Mitcham
on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th
7 p.m. – 10.30 p.m.
Admission 3/6.
Demonstration by BOB BURGESS and MARGARET BAKER and Finals of Pre-Amateur 4-Dance Contest

CLASSES MONTHLY.
CLUB NIGHTS THURSDAYS AND SATURDAYS.
Enquiries : ‘Phone BAL. 7308

Why Mrs Wood was last to leave Majestic Cinema

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 1st December, 1961

PROJECTORS whirred to a stop and the audience filed out of the Majestic Cinema for the last time on Saturday evening.

But Mrs. G. Wood, Carew Road, Mitcham, waited until the cinema was empty before she walked out. She had been the first person in Mitcham’s only
cinema house 27 years ago and she intended to be the last one out.

Mrs. Wood’s husband, George, had intended to be with her at the last performance but other commitments kept him away. Both had attended the first film on the opening night and enjoyed numerous films there for 25 years.

I’ve never played bingo and I don’t think I will,” added Mr.
Wood

Romany School of Dancing

Elsie and Bobby Smith started giving dancing lesson in Monarch Parade in the early 1940s, according to a contributor to the Facebook Mitcham History Group. An ad from 1962 said that they had been established for 21 years, giving their start year as 1941.

In 1947, this ad shows that they were teaching at the Majestic cinema:

Learn to Dance at Mitcham's Most MODERN BALLROOM Romany School of Dancing Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.) now at Majestic Mitcham. Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri Dances : Wed & Sat. Private Lessons by Appointment

Learn to Dance at Mitcham’s Most MODERN BALLROOM
Romany School of Dancing
Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.)
now at Majestic Mitcham.
Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs
Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri
Dances : Wed & Sat.
Private Lessons by Appointment

They then moved to their own premises at the rear of 482 London Road, and named it the Romany Club de Danse. The opening night was 17th July 1950:

Norwood News – Friday 14 July 1950 Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. From the British Newspaper Archives

This ad from 1959 gives times and prices:

1959 ad

1959 ad

Text:

Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D., invite you to dance at the

ROMANY BALLROOM

482, London Road, Mitcham.

Strict beginners classes, Mondays & Thursdays, 8-10.30, 2/6.

TUESDAYS
Beginners and Intermediate
8.30-10.45

WEDNESDAYS
Old Time 8-11 2/6.

FRIDAYS
Over 25’s Beginners 8-11

SATURDAY MORNING
Children’s Ballroom Class
10.30-12. 1/-.

SATURDAY CLUB DANCES TO “ROMANY BAND”.

PRIVATE LESSONS BY APPOINTMENT DAILY
For Enquiries : ‘Phone MITCHAM 4329.

STAGE BRANCH : Ballet – Tap – Modern Dance – Acrobatic Class Daily

This 1953 OS map shows the Dance Hall:

1953 OS Map

1953 OS Map

In 1954, ‘the undefeated Star Professional Champions’ Wally Fryer and Violet Barnes demonstrated there:

Norwood News – Friday 07 May 1954
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Ad from 1962 shows the introduction of a ‘Rock n Roll Club’ on Saturday nights:

1962 ad

1962 ad

Text of ad:

ROMANY’ School of Dancing
Est. 21 years
Principals : Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D.
482 LONDON RD, MITCHAM (opp. Mitcham Stn.). Tel. MIT 4329

Monday – BEGINNERS ONLY, expert tuition, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Tuesday – HOLIDAY COURSE CLASS, 8-10.30 p.m. ……… 2/6
(Special tuition for every kind of holiday dancing)
Thursday – BEGINNERS and INTERMEDIATE, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Friday – Over 25s, Beginners and Intermediate, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Saturday morning – Children’s Ballroom, 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon ……1/-
Saturday night – ROCK ’N’ ROLL CLUB, 7.30-11 p.m. …… 3/-
Sunday – OLD TIME CLASS and PRACTICE, 7.30-10.30 p.m. 3/-

STAGE BRANCH – Tuesdays and Fridays, 4.30 p.m.

Private Lessons Daily


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Majestic Cinema

Opened Friday 6th October, 1933.

Planning application no. 1768 for a cinema and cafe, was submitted by Majestic Theatre (Mitcham) Ltd., 151 Great Portland Street, W.1., as shown in the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District Council, page 731, volume XV, 1929-1930.

Newspaper articles from the Mitcham News and Mercury:

17th Feb 1933
MITCHAM’S NEW CINEMA

Plans for Majestic Complete

The Majestic Cinema, at the Fair Green. Mitcham, is proceeding apace. The architect, Mr. B. B. Pritlove, L.R.I.B.A., of Denham-street. Piccadilly, has already got the plans and specifications completed, and next week the whole of the tenders for the work will have been let. A condition is that the contractors must begin operations within a week of accepting the tender.

The steel work contract has been let to Messrs. Dorman Long, the well-known Middlesbrough firm, who built the Sydney Bridge in Australia, one of the biggest undertakings of its kind in the world. The cinema is certain to be one of the smartest in the Metropolis when it is finished.


2nd March 1933
ORDERS PLACED
Messrs Dorman Long and Co. Ltd., have been awarded contracts for the supply and erection of the steel framework for two kinemas – the Ritz, Nottingham, and the Majestic, Mitcham.

The steelwork for the Ritz amounts to 600 tons, and work is expected to start at the end of April.

The Majestic will contain 350 tons of steel.


17th March 1933
CINEMAS ON SUNDAY
APPLICATION FOR MAJESTIC, MITCHAM The Majestic (Theatre) Mitcham, Ltd., who are building the new super cinema, the Majestic, at the Fair Green, have applied to the Home Secretary for a draft order for Sunday opening.

The matter will come before the Mitcham Urban District Council at their next meeting.

This raises the question locally of Sunday opening of cinemas, which, is nowadays agitating other districts.


12th May 1933

12th May 1933


23rd June 1933
SUNDAY CINEMAS.
The application of Mitcham Council for an order under the Entertainments Act, based upon the decision of the recent public meeting, has been granted by the Home Secretary. This enables the Sunday opening of cinemas. The construction of the Majestic Cinema at the Fair Green is being pushed forward with all speed, and the roofing is nearing completion. It is confidently expected that the Cinema will the ready for opening by the end of September


7th July 1933
IT IS THE MAJESTIC.

The Majestic Cinema is rapidly rising on the site opposite Mitcham Fair Green. The name “Majestic” seems very appropriate, for the building looms high and lofty in an important and busy area, and as far as one can judge it will be as imposing and handsome as any of the new buildings recently opened in the vicinity. When completed, the cinema, baths and library will each be calling for support at a distance of less than 150 yards apart. So we shall have the library for the mind, the baths for the body, and the cinema for the relaxation of both.


8th October 1933

6th October 1933


13th October, 1933

13th October 1933

13th October 1933

There were remarkable scenes in Mitcham last Friday evening, when Mitcham’s own cinema, the Majestic, was opened, a huge crowd assembling. Inset are (left to right) Ald. J. Chuter Ede, Mrs. Ede, Mr. Silverton Miles (manager), Lady Meller and Sir R.J. Meller, M.P., at the opening ceremony.


13th October, 1933

13th October, 1933


Newspaper Headlines

Date Headline Newspaper Page
12/05/1933 Sunday opening agreed to Mitcham News and Mercury 1
13/05/1933 Sunday cinemas at Mitcham Mitcham and Morden Guardian 10
20/05/1933 Mitcham Sunday Cinemas Mitcham and Morden Guardian 4
16/06/1933 Mitcham Vicar and Sunday Cinemas Mitcham and Morden Guardian 9
09/09/1933 Mitcham’s new Cinema Mitcham and Morden Guardian 5
15/09/1933 Official opening set Mitcham News and Mercury 1
30/09/1933 Mitcham’s new Cinema Mitcham and Morden Guardian 2
13/10/1933 Opening Mitcham News and Mercury 1
14/10/1933 The Majestic Theatre Mitcham and Morden Guardian 3
30/12/1933 1,500 Council School children entertained Mitcham and Morden Guardian 5
04/10/1951 Origin (letter) Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 4
11/10/1951 Origin (letter) Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 6
07/02/1958 Farewell day for the Majestic’s Mr Kaye Mitcham News and Mercury 8
04/04/1958 Meet the new cinema manager (Mr Cave) Mitcham News and Mercury 8
11/04/1958 Duke competition Mitcham News and Mercury 8
24/04/1958 They are shy of their Teddy Boy Suits Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
09/05/1958 Friendly manager Mitcham News and Mercury 8
06/06/1958 Gala show Mitcham News and Mercury 8
04/07/1958 Calling Marjorie Mitcham News and Mercury 8
10/10/1958 New manager Mitcham News and Mercury 8
30/10/1959 Rumour quashed Mitcham News and Mercury 1
30/06/1960 Majestic Cinema in £170,000 take over bid Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
03/08/1961 Future of Majestic Cinema in the balance Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
04/08/1961 No bingo at the Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 1
17/11/1961 Majestic cinema – no more films Mitcham News and Mercury 1
23/11/1961 Cinema turned over to big-time bingo Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
01/12/1961 Bingo comes to the Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 11
01/12/1961 Why Mrs Wood was last to leave Majestic Cinema Mitcham News and Mercury 11
15/12/1961 Majestic to be flats, shops? Mitcham News and Mercury 10
21/12/1961 Reopen Majestic, say Young Socialists Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
22/12/1961 Let town take over Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 1
29/12/1961 Majestic – talks are planned Mitcham News and Mercury 1
05/01/1962 Shops on Mitcham Majestic site Mitcham and Morden Guardian 1
15/03/1962 Majestic is going over to quizzes and wrestling Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
16/03/1962 Variety for Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 1
23/03/1962 Granada Theatres – a denial Mitcham News and Mercury 1
23/03/1962 Dancing school not affected and last game of bingo Mitcham News and Mercury 11
05/04/1962 Clickety click the V.S.A. Way Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
06/04/1962 It’s American bingo now at the Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 1
18/05/1962 Pop singer Jerry pulls in crowds Mitcham News and Mercury 1
30/07/1971 Development plan rejected Mitcham News and Mercury 1
03/01/1975 It’s bye bye Bingo Mitcham News and Mercury 1
15/02/1975 Family cinema planned Mitcham News and Mercury 1
28/02/1975 Bingo’s days are numbered Mitcham News and Mercury 5
04/04/1975 Last minute Let Off for Majestic Mitcham News and Mercury 1
17/10/1975 Majestic’s bingo fans hear last call Mitcham News and Mercury 11
30/01/1976 Old cinema wrecked by vandals Mitcham News and Mercury 1
02/09/1977 Superstore plan for cinema Mitcham News and Mercury 15
04/11/1977 Firm plan for cinema site Mitcham News and Mercury 68
03/03/1978 Supermarket plan for Majestic site Mitcham News and Mercury 68

Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Urban District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.