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Monday, February 13, 2012

Tube Station Cinema at Snaresbrook London Underground - Is this first Tube Cinema?

Is this the first cinema to be set up on the London Underground? It's possible that films were shown to entertain people sheltering in Tube stations in air raids in the second world war, but this must be a first for our current Tube system. Malcolm Parker, 57, set up a projector and started showing his collection of films of classic steam trains for morning commuters in a disused office on the westbound platform of Snaresbrook London Underground Station.

Snaresbrook station, London Underground - roundel by mikeyashworth
Temporary signs went up - covering up the 1947 roundel by mikeyashworth

The mini cinema, which is decorated with classic Art Deco railway posters, has proved so popular that Malcolm has extended its opening hours so those making their way home after can enjoy the show.

In an interview with the East London & West Essex Guardian series, Malcolm said: "There is a room on the platform that was completely dull so I put some old posters up I decided to put it to some use. I don’t know of any other stations with cinemas.

"People very much like it. You have people getting off the train and saying ‘what is that?’ and being quite amazed. People have also come along specially to see it with their kids on the weekend.

Malcom was on the last Epping-Ongar service as a train guard before the stretch of line closed in the early 1990s and has rare self-shot footage of the old route and even older footage of Great Eastern Line steam trains. “Some of the films of the steam trains have proved especially popular with the older ladies,” he said

I have always been on the railways all my life, and my family have since the 1840s. My great-grandfather drove the royal train for Edward VII. Now my son and daughter both work on the railways.

“I love the railways, the architecture, the locomotives, I even find satisfaction in well laid tracks. It is great to share my passion,” he said.

Poster showing Epping Ongar Line by Alan Perryman
Poster showing Epping Ongar Line by Alan Perryman

If anyone lives near Snaresbrook, see if you can pop in and have a look, it would be great to find out what the films are like.  Thanks.  Hat tip to IanVisits for telling me about this.

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