Ritz Cinema, Bow

Site of the Ritz Cinema, St Stephens Rd Bow

Old Ford Picture Palace opened in 1910. It was re-named the Ritz Cinema in 1937, and closed in 1961. The street numbers have increased after the recent rebuilding. The 1935 Street Directory shows that 55 was the last building before the Roman Road (on the west side). I took the top photo from outside The Albert, formerly Prince Albert.

The pub’s address is St Stephen’s Road and I found it in the 1960 street directory listed as Prince Albert. But in both 1910 and 1939 it’s just listed as a beer retailer – not a pub. Interestingly the smart looking Saffire Charcoal Grill facing The Albert was listed as the Earl of Elginton in 1910 and 1939. It didn’t survive the war.

1935 Street Directory detail showing Old Ford Picture Palace (later the Ritz) St Stephens Road, London E3
1935 Street Directory: detail showing Old Ford Picture Palace (later the Ritz) St Stephens Road, London E3

Tom Old recently wrote in to say: “I spent half of my young life in ” The Ritz ” cinema in St Stephens Road, alas, mostly by ” bunking in ”. I only have happy memories of it, and, never, did I ever refer to it as ” The Bug Hole or ” The Flea Pit ” and to do so, is to do it’s memory a grave, unwarranted injustice. I ABSOLUTELY loved ”The Ritz ” cinema , and it was a sad day when it closed for ever !!!”

Does anybody else remember The Ritz in St Stephens Road?


  1. The Frederick Bateman of the shoe repairers at 53 St. Stephens was married to my Great Aunt, Eliza Fosh, from a Bethnal Green Huguenot family. My Grandmother was Emily Fosh, who married my grandfather Walter Arber in 1901 and they lived at 459 Roman Road.

    I attended the Ritz cinema often in the late 1950s until 1961, from the age of 12, to watch A and X rated horror films. I was often by myself but never refused entry. It was by then a bit dilapidated but even so it should and could have been saved as some sort of cultural monument. I echo Tom Old’s comment – happy memories and a sad day when it closed.

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