Entertainment on the Mile End Road

London was the centre for numerous entertainment industries: some traditional, some new. During the First World War, increased earnings and new technology meant that both flourished. The cinema emerged as a wildly popular phenomenon, with 14 cinemas in Stepney alone, and began to replace the music hall as the popular form of entertainment. Public houses, although restricted by reduced opening hours and rising alcohol prices, maintained their status as a key source of entertainment and relaxation for the locals. Whilst, war-time exhibitions took on new functions, so as not just to entertain but also to reinvigorate support for the war.
This tour takes you down the Mile End Road to examine how the workers kept themselves entertained throughout the early twentieth century.

The Mile End Empire

The Paragon Theatre was renamed ‘The Mile End Empire’ in 1912 and began operating as a cinema in the same year. This cinema was so successful that the original building was replaced in 1938 with a ‘Super Cinema’ known just as the ‘Empire’. 
The…

Lusby's Music Hall

What is now the Genesis Cinema has had many incarnations in its 170 year history. First erected as ‘The Eagle’, a public house, in 1848, it was also used as a music hall. It was then taken over by William Lusby who renamed it ‘Lusby’s Music Hall’ in…

The War-time Drinking Problem

If you were walking along the Mile End Road a decade ago, you would have noted two public houses that, despite undergoing many drastic changes throghout the twentieth century, would still have been visible from the First World War. Sadly, this is no…

A Princess Comes to the East End

From 1917 onwards major exhibitions were held across Britain as the government sought to revive popular support for the war. Two of these were held here at The People’s Palace: The Great Air Exhibition of 1917 and The British Battle Photographs in…

The Palladium Cinema

Although the Palladium Cinema (initially opened in April 1914) is now a different form of cultural centre (a Nando’s), in the early 20th century it was very important to the local community. During the First World War, the cinema was one of the…