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Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:18 pm
by fosney
Abbey Street - Star Cinema - updates for page 30

In 1867 the Landlord of the Star and Garter Public House, Bermondsey, joined in the general enthusiasm to attach a "Music Hall" to the premises. With a seatng capacity of 1395, it proved to be a money spinner. In 1883 he was able to sell at a considerable profit to Harry Hart "The Happy Hebrew" who had been associated with the Raglan at Bloomsbury, and the original Bedford at Camden Town.

In the last decades of the 19th Century, the Star's resident Chairman, Rodney Polgraze, became a "Star" attraction in all senses and built up a loyal and regular audience for the venue. In 1885 Marie Lloyd age 16 sang at the Star Palace, singing "The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery" and became an instant success, earning some 15 shillings a week which was to increase to £100 a week in a very short time. In 1892 the "Star" temporarily renamed "Johnny Hart's "Temple of Terpsichore", saw the debut of Bessie Bellwood, a local girl whose profession was a rabbit skinner, with the song "What cheer, Ria" she went on to become one of the great names of music hall.

In 1904 Fred Karno created a new sketch and tried it out at the Star, Originally called "Twice Nightly" it was found to be causing confusion amongst audiences, so it was renamed "Mumming Birds". This elaborate "stage within a stage" sketch soon became a huge favourite and over the next twenty years was played in almost every theatre on the variety circuit. The "Drunken Dude" - a non-speaking part was regularly played by the young unknown Charlie Chaplin. (In 1910 when the Fred Karno Troupe toured America, Chaplin again played this part - with the sketch renamed "Saturday Night at the English Music Hall". He was spotted by Mack Sennett and offered his first film job).

1908 saw the start of the film programme at the Star and in November 1919 it lost it's licence as a Music Hall and Theatre and was re-named the Star Kinema. In 1920, the Star Cinema was listed as being operated by Vitagraph Theatres Limited and was equipped for sound films in 1930. It closed during World War II, probably due to war damage and the building was demolished in 1963.

Picture 1 Star Music Hall 1905 Picture 2 1963 - start of demolition

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:39 pm
by fosney
Posted by roymal

eb 18 11 6:42 AM

Re:- Your 'Abbey Street - Star Cinema' item fosney, I was pleased to read your history of the old pub and cinema.
As I have previously mentioned, I was born in Monarch Buildings, close by and in 1936, I was watching a man in a horsedrawn cart, unloading huge barrels of beer, single handedly into the cellar of the pub and as the guy looped the rope around the barrel to roll it down a specially designed ladder, he said to me, "Hello sonny and how old are you", I replied "I'm four years old and today is my birthday, and I've been bumped, five times".

I also mentioned I'm sure how my wife and I took a trip from Canada to England in 1999 and met several old ladies in South Wales with distinctive cockny accents and after I mentioned that we were born in Abbey Street Bermondsey, one old lady said "O! I remember the Star and Garter alright, because my old man was the CHUCKER OUTER".


Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:51 pm
by fosney
Abbey Street and Dockhead

Arnold's Place was a small alleyway that ran between Abbey Street and Dockhead and behind the Catholic Church and School in Parker's Row. It's position was between the Star Cinema and Monarch Building (see page 24 ) running north to Dockhead . Severely damaged in the bombing of Parker's Row it's final demise was in the road realignment and the expansion of Arnold Estate.
Here is a view of what was left of Arnold's place, from Abbey Street, just before the demolition of Monarch Buildings (on the left) in the 60s

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:37 am
by fosney
Posted by roymal

I would like to thank you Crosby34 for producing the picture of Monarch Buildings on 20 February 2011 09:50 AM.
Although I was born in the other Monarch Building next to a pub on the corner of Abbey Street and Jamaica Road, my parents along with my siblings moved to no.2, which is the second window up from the street.
We stayed in that flat, until my three brothers and I were evacuated to Brighton in 1939 and as I have previously mentioned my mother, father and sister were killed by a direct hit in the Druid Street bombing in 1940.
I remember vividly playing in those courtyards of Arnold's Place.
My older brothers used to place me in a pram on Guy Fawkes night, begging for "A penny for the guy mister?".

How I also remember the Charabancs before the war, pulling up on Abbey Street for day outings, and just before they took off, they would sometimes throw a half penny or farthing from the windows for us kids to fight over. One trip I saw passengers dressed as 'Pearly kings and queens'.
Ah! yes, those were the days.

Crosby, I will send this picture to my brothers in England, who will be delighted to be reminded of their childhood days.
Unfortunately, one brother is in hospital in Lewisham, having just suffered from a second stroke and although he is partially disabled, He is still mentally alert and will love this view of the old homestead.

I don't know how you obtained these pictures, but I would like to again thank you for them.

Roy Wilcox Nova Scotia Canada


Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:43 am
by fosney
Posted by freebird 190

"What a great picture of Abbey Building all has changed since those days. I can remember a pub on the corner of Pendall Street and in the forecourt od Abbey Buildings the Tower Bridge Road End was Long Walk and there was also a pub in this corner what the names were I dont know perhaps Bermondsey Boy or one of the other members can tell us"

I think one of the pubs you refer to was called The White Bear or something similar and it was in the next little road which I believe was Long Walk which went in an L shape and came out on Tower Bridge Road . In the 1950's My aunt and uncle lived on the ground floor in Abbey Buildings - No.26 - and whenever we visited my dad and my uncle would go round the pub for the evening and leave the women to it. I remember those buildings and their flat so clearly and I agree it's a great picture.

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:57 am
by fosney
Posted by crosby34

Here is another view towards Abbey St taken in 1962

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:15 pm
by fosney
Abbey Street

Another advert from the 1930s Abbey Garage 171 Abbey Street. In todays picture we still find a garage trading at 171 Abbey Street KMS Service Station

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:17 pm
by fosney
And a detail showing the entrance to the garage next to the railway viaduct

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:04 pm
by fosney
Posted by fogbrain

Hi Joe
thank you for posting the pic of the Bermondsey Gospel Mission.
I used to go to the mission in the 1960's when I was a kid.
I, and several of my friends, attended a group called The Band Of Hope which was a temperance
group to teach us Bermondsey kids the right and wrongs in life and was held once a week on a week night.
I remember it vividly, even the words GOD IS LOVE looking down as we went up the stairs to the entrance.
Each evening began with us singing hymns accompanied by a woman up on the stage wearing a hat
and playing the piano.
After the hymn singing we would be taught all sorts of useful things and one of the things I remember is being taught how to use a telephone and call the emergency services.
Does anyone else remember the Band Of Hope and did anyone else attend it?


Yes and yes.

The God Is Love was a red neon sign. Apparently some people referred to the building as “The God Is Love”.

The woman on stage (I don’t remember the hat) was Ruth Mills, the wife of the superintendant of the mission Donald Mills. He succeeded Frank Bustin after latter’s sudden only death a few months after succeeding Cyril Bustin – Ruth Mills’ father – in 1962. Cyril Bustin was the son of William and Annie Bustin who ran the mission from 1891 to 1946. Annie was “Madame Annie Ryall”, the daughter of Walter Ryall who had founded the mission in 1864. So it was a family affair throughout.

But enough of ancient history and back to the Band of Hope. The meetings were on Wednesday evenings. It was only year s later I discovered that is was a temperance movement thing so they obviously didn’t overdo the demon drink warnings. Having said that, I do remember on one occasion Ruth pointing out that if beer was good for us they’d give it to us free in school instead of milk.

But talking of being late, at around that time ‘Batman’ got its first airing on ITV, with part one of each two-parter on Tuesday evenings and part two on Wednesdays. There was a relatively rowdy group of kids and I recall Ruth Mills being most unimpressed when one of the girls explained the necessity for that group’s late arrival each week. Would that have been you?

It took me until about the 1990s to catch up with all the Bat

Re: Abbey Street

Posted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:07 pm
by fosney
Posted by bermondseygal

There was a relatively rowdy group of kids and I recall Ruth Mills being most unimpressed when one of the girls explained the necessity for that group’s late arrival each week. Would that have been you?


It was neither me or any of my friends as we were never late!

You can take the girl out of Bermondsey but you can't take Bermondsey out of the girl!