To see a film on the big screen these days, residents of Rickmansworth will most likely have to travel to Watford or wait for the odd film to be shown at Watersmeet Theatre. But did you know the town has had three previous purpose-built cinemas in it’s past?
The first was the Electric Picture Playhouse, opened in 1912 inside the Old Town Hall on the High Street. It only lasted for twelve years however, closing in 1927, with the Hob Salon and Zip Up shop in its place.
The same year the Playhouse closed; the Picture House opened on the other end of the High Street. With a mock-Tudor theme, this classy venue continued to show movies all the way up to 1962, with it’s last screening being the Bette Davis and Joan Crawford classic, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”.
The building saw a number of uses after, including office space, a Venetian blind factory and a health care centre before being demolished in favour of a block of new flats.
The third and final cinema was the Rickmansworth Odeon, also on the High Street, which opened in 1936. This location gave its name to the ‘Odeon Parade’ of shops and flats that were built on Church Street’s corner.
However, this cinema was never a huge success, often due to it only playing movies weeks after they had been shown in Watford. It closed in 1957, and despite long-time plans from the council to turn it into a swimming pool, it was demolished in 1965.
Photo Credit: Ken Roe