Demolition begins for original Kinema

Architect's impression of the site, from Platform 5 Architects
Architect’s impression of the site, from Platform 5 Architects
This may come as a surprise to some, but the end has arrived for the original Wanstead Kinema with the start of the building’s demolition.

Only those who monitor planning news closely will have realised permission was granted this summer for the knocking down of the building which housed Wanstead’s cinema until 1956, and latterly a snooker hall and then the Nam Am restaurant.

Though the redevelopment means the end of one of the High Street’s oldest buildings, it does mean the creation of  two new four-storey buildings on the site giving a shopfront on the High Street and some housing – three three-bedroom flats, three two-bedroom flats and two one-bedroom flats.

The designs are by Platform 5 Architects from Hackney and seem, when compared to an earlier view of the building, to be not dissimilar.  The architects say the plan has been “carefully crafted to fit into its sensitive context and echoes the vernacular building forms in order to maintain the village character of the street”.


The site, as captured by Google Streetview in 2008
The site, as captured by Google Streetview in 2008
The demolition comes after a number of attempts at obtaining planning permission – one of which in 2010 was rejected with the verdict that it involved the “inappropriate and unjustified demolition of a modest and relatively simple Victorian building”. 

Update, Friday: Wansteadium reader AJS Sends this photo and writes: “Not much left of the back hall yesterday..  and agree it’s a shame the plans couldn’t have included a revamped Purbani’s.


*Fans of cinema need not be too sad. The spirit of the Wanstead Kinema long ago left that building, and now resides at If you’d like to get involved in future screenings, please get in contact via that page.

11 thoughts on “Demolition begins for original Kinema”

  1. Remember it for saturday morning pics, then going tenpin bowling,and working on the m/c’s. Slowly there desimating wanstead, and none of it’s history will be left.

  2. I well remember visits to the Kinematic and to the bowling alley. Activities which did not involve either eating or drinking. I still love to return to Wanstead when I can but slowly and inevitably the Old Wanstead is being eaten away. It is good to see though, that Wansteadians are making sure that its character doesn’t completely disappear.

  3. Stop knocking Purbani.

    I’ve enjoyed many a curry and After 8 mint there; all delivered with fantastic efficiency and grace from that tiny kitchen.

    Definitely part of Wanstead’s heritage and been here for many years.

    Unfortunately the buyers of flats in the new block will be caught between extractor fans; curry vapours on one side and from the fat fryer on the other.

    But perhaps they can retire to the new courtyard garden for some air, lol.

  4. Not knocking Purbani’s itself (good solid restaurant), just the building it’s in! (i.e. requires facelift not amputation)

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