Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Working in Becontree

Becontree, in the part of Greater London that was once Essex, is one of the places where I worked during my early career in cinema management.

While I was an Assistant Manager, in the mid 1960s, I used to have to go to various cinemas on relief, in other words to be in temporary charge while the Manager was on holiday, or ill, or otherwise not there.

The Odeon Becontree was one of these. It was a small cinema, in Green Lane (always known locally, quite inexplicably, as "Green Lanes"), and I had to go there for a couple of days from time to time.

It is not to be confused with the Odeon at Becontree Heath, a mile or so away. This was known as the Odeon Whalebone Lane, and was the first cinema of which I was the actual Manager, being appointed in 1966.

While I was Manager at Whalebone Lane, a good friend named Mike Johnson was the Manager at Becontree.

Together we devised the Essex and East London Beat Contest, a knockout competition where two groups would perform each Sunday, in alternate cinemas, during the break between films.

Mike stage managed, and I compered each heat, including the Final, which was held at the Odeon Becontree and judged by Tony Blackburn.

If anybody reading this has any connections with Becontree, or East London in general (Born? Lived? Worked? Ancestors? Relatives?), I will be very pleased to hear from them.