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Photo: Andy Parsons

This couple have renovated an old cinema in Clapton after a £57k crowdfunding campaign

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Time Out Film

No wonder Dee Swift and Asher Charman look happy. The couple have just opened a new cinema, the Castle in Clapton, after raising £57,000 on Kickstarter.

The building first opened as a 600-seat cinema, the Castle Electric, in 1913 and shut its doors in 1958. Since then, it’s been used as a bingo hall, a shoe factory and a snooker club. Today, the original building is carved in two. Downstairs is a posh Spar supermarket and E17’s burger bar, while the cinema occupies the top floor. Dee and Asher have spent the past 12 months renovating the derelict space. Here's their story, told by their own camera. 

March, 2016: 'Just launched the Kickstarter campaign. Spotted this in Time Out!'


March, 2016: 'We've raised the money. Now for the hard work!'

March, 2016'The Castle's first screening in more than 60 years! Asher is introducing a documentary about cinemas in East London.'

July 2016: 'Hunting for antique gems at Ardingly Fair in West Sussex'

September 2016: 'Having a good clear-out. It was full of completely random stuff, old kitchen fryers, the odd snooker cue, when we picked up keys in August.' 

 November 2016: 'Finally, we're painting the walls.' 

November, 2016: 'It took days getting the height of the tiers right. That means no one blocking your view of the film!' 


December, 2016: 'The guys are putting in the screen. Now the space is really starting to feel like a cinema!'

 December 2016: 'Carrying all 80 chairs up the fire escape stairs and into the cinema. We got the chairs from a warehouse outside Newcastle that sells ex hotel furniture. Way more comfy than vintage cinema seats!'  

 December 2016: 'Test screenings! Last week, we showed our very first film, "Love Actually" to friends and family. A guilty Christmas pleasure!' 

 February 2017: 'Opening night. Our first "official" show is "La La Land". The audience look like they're having a good time!'  

The Castle is now open. Find it at 64-66 Brooksby's Walk, E9 6DA, nearest station Homerton.

See what's on at or follow them at @thecastlecinema.

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