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 was demolished in October that year for London Crossrail. The building was erected on the site of a Crosse and Blackwell warehouse and opened to the public 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 would be a few years before London could be described as anything close to ‘swinging’.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.