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The Top Rank Dance Hall at the Astoria Theatre on Charing Cross Road, 1963.

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The London Astoria was located on Charing Cross Road just down from the Tottenham Court Road tube station. It closed for the last time in January 2009 and has now since been demolished for London Crossrail. It was built on the site of a Crosse and Blackwell warehouse and opened in 1927 as a cinema. It was taken over soon after World War 2 by the Rank Organisation and became well known for showing 70mm films. West Side Story broke the Astoria box office records in January 1962. Meanwhile in the basement there was a ballroom and like many throughout Britain at the time it was known as the Top Rank Dance Hall. In 1963 it held teenage lunchtime dance sessions hosted by young DJs. As you can see, it was a few years yet before London became ‘swinging’.

 

 

 

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London dance hall