In this week’s Inner West Courier, there is a story regarding the Enfield Savoy. The Savoy is a former theatre located on the eastern side of Liverpool Road Enfield (within Burwood Council). The theatre is not heritage listed, even the facade, which is the substance of the article.
I have to declare an interest in the matter as the former manager of the Theatre was my great-grandfather and the woman interviewed about her recollections in the article is my mother. I have heard countless stories about this theatre (as well as the Homebush Vogue which was also managed by my great-grandfather who worked for Western Suburbs Cinema and then Hoyts, when they acquired the chain).
According to the article, my mother:
‘has fond memories of women dressing up in their furs and jewellery to attend the theatre every Saturday night, and sneaking out to buy chocolates at the milk bar during the interval’.
‘In those days the cinema was the main source of entertainment. Women could get realy dressed up in their best clothes for the occasion. They would always show one film and have an interval then show another, in the middle a courier would pull out the roll of film and take it over to the theatre at Burwood so it could play there.’
‘There was a milk bar on the corner where we would get homemade chocolates and there was an organ player who would play in the intermission – it was quite the show’.
The Enfield Cinema was the third theatre located in Enfield. It was opened on 16 November 1927 as the Enfield Cinema and built at an estimated cost of £17,000. The theatre had a seating capacity for 1,878. It was designed by the architectural firm Kaberry & Chard.
By 1932, Western Suburbs Cinemas Ltd had gained control of the theatre. Western Suburbs Cinemas was a company which operated in Sydney’s western suburbs and was managed by (A J) Alf Bezant (d.1950). The Enfield Savoy, Strathfield Melba and Homebush Theatre were all WSC cinemas.
In 1938, the cinema was substantially redesigned and the façade and interior rebuilt in Art Deco style under guidance of architect G N Kentworthy (who also designed Cremorne Orpheum). Added to the alterations was the installation of a Christie organ, which was fitted with glass ornamentation and concealed lighting.
The cinema was renamed the Savoy and reopened by the Mayor of Enfield in July 1938. Western Suburbs Cinemas Ltd came under control of Hoyts in 1944. Enfield Council minutes note that the theatre was used for ANZAC Day and Armistice Day services from 1940 onwards in association with the Enfield-Croydon Park Sub-Branch.
By the late 1950’s, audiences had declined and the theatre had restricted screenings. The last movie shown at the Savoy was ‘Some Like It Hot’ in 1960.
Since 1960, the cinema has been used as a carpet and furniture warehouse and plumbing supplies.