Bromley Picturehouse: Petition to save cinema launched

Bromley Picturehouse, a landmark vintage cinema known for its striking Art Deco architecture, has announced it will be closing its doors for good on August 1.

This beloved venue, which has welcomed film lovers for generations, represents an era echoing the golden years of cinema in the 1920s and 30s.

The original building dates back to 1936 and showcases the design of famed architect George Coles, making it a significant part of Bromley’s cultural heritage.

The sudden announcement of the closure has come as a shock to the community, with no specific reasons provided.

A spokesperson for Bromley Picturehouse took to Facebook and X to announce, “We’re very sorry to announce that we’ve made the tough decision to close Bromley Picturehouse from Thu 1 Aug. Between now and then, you can continue to enjoy all we have to offer – we hope to see you in the cinema soon. If you’re a Member, we’ll be in touch in due course.”

The petition, initiated by Jon Lock, has quickly garnered support from the community and now has almost 1,700 signatures.

Jon’s petition says: “Bromley Picturehouse holds a personal spot in many of our hearts.

“For me, ever since its doors opened in 2019, it has been a haven, a place to get lost in cinematic experiences, explore new genres, and relish in a meal—all housed within stunning architecture.

“This much-loved cultural hub serves as a significant element of Bromley’s local identity and character. It is a symbol of heritage, a beacon of community, and a promoter of independent cinema.

“Yet, its future hangs in the balance. Its potential loss would mean more than just the closure of a cinema; it would mean the community losing a piece of its history. We must unite as lovers of this local gem.”

Jon, a lifelong Bromley resident and an ardent supporter of independent cinemas, expressed his passion for the venue, highlighting how it offers a unique alternative to the more commercial multiplexes in the area.

He emphasised that the Picturehouse is not just a cinema but a sanctuary for many, providing a space to escape, relax, and immerse in the art of film.

Jon explained: “For my mental health, it’s the closest thing I find to meditation. So I go there for three hours, I can switch off, forget everything, and I think there’s a lot of people who feel the same.

“So that place really is a bit of a beacon for me, somewhere I can kind of go to escape. The second I heard it was closing, I just wanted to do something.”

Jon said the community’s response to the petition has been overwhelming, with hundreds of comments expressing support and sharing fond memories of the Picturehouse.

He also set up a Facebook group named saved Bromley Picturehouse which has been a location for supporters to share their thoughts.

Jon said: “There’s a lot of passion for it, and I think there’s a lot of energy that we can harness to do something meaningful.

“I think there are over 1,000 people now who have signed the petition. That’s a huge number of people who feel quite strongly about it. I am surprised at the amount of support, which really shows how much it will be missed.”

Jon’s campaign has not only focused on saving the cinema but also on preserving the jobs of the dedicated staff.

“The biggest shame is for these guys, really, they’re going to lose their jobs. Every interaction I’ve had with the staff has been excellent. They’re really friendly and seem to care about the place.”

A community meeting is scheduled for July 11 at the Picturehouse, where supporters will discuss the situation and consider possible actions.

Aaron Truss, a film director and co-director of the Rob Knox London Film Festival, also teamed up with Jon to make arrangements for the meeting and further progress with the campaign to save the Picturehouse.

The Rob Knox London Film Festival is held annually in memory of Rob, who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – and it was recently announced it would be held at the Picturehouse this year.

The 18-year-old actor had just finished filming his breakthrough role as Marcus Belby in the sixth Harry Potter film when he was tragically stabbed to death in Sidcup, South London, on May 24, 2008.

Aaron told the News Shopper: “Bromley Picturehouse, which was an Odeon at the time – was my first cinema trip with my parents. Chuck Russell’s ‘The Mask’ in 1994, followed by a Summer of hits like Toy Story and Batman Forever.

“These cinema experiences defined me and what I do today, the magic of cinema in the heart of Bromley turned me into a filmmaker.

“I was a Bromley boy much like Rob Knox, so it was incredibly disappointing to find out that my friend’s memorial would be removed only two weeks after we had an unveiling ceremony.

“Through its different ownerships, Picturehouse was the perfect host, especially with its loving staff.”

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The Association was founded in 1933 to protect the interests of residents and preserve the local amenities.

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