It’s cinemas a-go-go in east London at the moment. In a few weeks’ time Clapton is getting a brand new cinema, The Castle, near Chatsworth Road (in an empty room above the Spar). Now we hear news of plans for an independent cinema in Bethnal Green.
The idea is to reopen the old Rex on Bethnal Green Road as an affordable cinema for the community, alongside a café/restaurant, around 150 hotel rooms and a rooftop garden. The decor will be in keeping with the Rex’s deco roots.
The cinema originally opened as Smart’s Picture House in 1913. Its art deco facade was designed by legendary cinema architect George Coles in 1938, and the Rex finally closed in 1967.
If you’re a Bethnal local, the organisers behind plans for the Rex have got two events coming up. Tonight, there’s a formal public consultation for residents and council members to view plans and put questions to the architects and backers. And on Saturday, they’re hosting a planting workshop, followed by short documentaries set in the East End.