By Cathy Jones
The former Enfield Savoy Cinema is located on Liverpool Road Enfield. It was located in the Central Ward of the former Enfield Council which has been part of Burwood Council since 1 January 1949.
The Enfield Savoy was the 3rd theatre located in the Enfield area. The original Enfield Theatre was a galvanised iron walled, open air place situated on Liverpool Road – the site of St Joseph’s Catholic Church. This theatre opened in 1912 and closed in 1916.
The second Enfield Theatre opened at 325 Liverpool Road and was known as the Broadway Picture Palace. The building was a simple brick structure with a raised section at the rear. The date of opening is unclear but this closed c.1927 when the Enfield Savoy opened. This building was later occupied by the British Carpet Company.
The 3rd Enfield theatre was opened on 16 November 1927 as the Enfield Cinema. The 1928 Enfield Council valuation records indicates that the cost of the building was £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 .
Cork, K, 1985, A history of the cinemas of Burwood Municipality
Department of NSW Valuer-General, Valuation List dated 1 October 1928, Assessment 991.
Roe, Kevin, Hoyts Enfield Savoy, viewed at http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/35280