Troxy originally opened as a grand cinema in 1933 and was designed to seat an audience of 3520 people. Erected on the site of an old brewery, it cost £250,000 to build.
The cinema had luxurious seating areas and mirror-lined restaurants and all the staff wore evening dress. It seemed like Hollywood had come to Commercial Road in all its glory. Outside was a blaze of lights, inside a large foyer with a large sweeping staircase, chandeliers, floor to ceiling mirrors and thick carpets.
It had the best films and a floodlit organ which rose from the orchestra pit during the interval, playing all of the latest tunes.
The Troxy staff even sprayed perfume during showings to make the cinema-goers feel good. The first film shown was “King Kong”. The last, in 1960, was “The Siege of Sydney Street”.
During its time as a cinema, Troxy regularly hosted international stars such as the Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields, Petula Clark, Cliff Richard and even Clark Gable.
The building remained empty and unused for almost three years until 1963, when surprisingly, a tenant was found and the London Opera Centre was created in the Troxy. Run by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Troxy was used for rehearsals on an extended stage which was an exact size of the Royal Opera House stage.
In the 1980s, Troxy became Mecca Bingo, where bingo was held seven days a week, two sessions a day. With the advent of online gambling, Mecca decided to close the operation in 2005.
The current owners, Ashburn Estates, have restored the venue as much as possible to its original glory, whilst incorporating the needs of today’s event requirements. Troxy is now deemed to be London’s most versatile venue, hosting anything from live concerts to company conferences, from indoor sports to weddings.
- See more at: http://www.troxy.co.uk/troxy_history/#sthash.vJCGj2Z2.dpuf
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