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Troxy in 2006

Troxy is a Grade II-listed Art Deco venue which has been converted for modern use and hosts music concerts, immersive cinema events, award ceremonies, conferences, product launches, indoor sport, film screenings, parties and weddings at 490 Commercial Road in Stepney, in the East End borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England.

It is considered a vital part of East London’s history and was made a Grade II listed building in 1990.[1] For much of the 20th Century it was one of the capital’s most glamorous cinemas. With a capacity of 3,100 and modern facilities complementing its historic interior it is a unique London venue.


Opened in 1933 on the site of an old brewery, Troxy cost £250,000 to build and when it first showed films had a capacity of 3,520, making it the largest cinema in England. Going to see a film at Troxy was an incredible experience. Inside the building the cinema had luxurious seating, a revolving stage, mirror-lined restaurants and customers were served by staff wearing evening dress. To add to the sense of luxury, Troxy staff even sprayed perfume during film showings. The cinema showed all the latest big releases and had a very special feature and a floodlit organ which rose from the orchestra pit during the interval, playing popular tunes.

Troxy was designed by George Coles, the architect of many art deco cinemas in London. The first film shown at the cinema was King Kong, which is now celebrated by graffiti on the side of the building. Big names from the film and music industry were regular sights at Troxy, with stars such as The Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields, Petula Clark, Cliff Richard and even Clark Gable visiting it.

The damage inflicted on the East End of London by the Blitz in World War Two and the clearance of local slums robbed Troxy of much of its original audience as the giant cinema closed in 1960, with the last film shown on November 19 that year, featuring Donald Sinden in “Siege of Sidney Street”.

The Troxy Organ[edit]

One of the unique attractions of Troxy is its Wurlitzer organ, it is largest Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in Europe which has been restored to its original condition after a six-year project. The Wurlitzer has 1,728 pipes measuring between 16 ft to one inch and is housed in four separate rooms. It has four keyboards, one pedal board and 241 stop keys.

The organ was originally in the Trocadero Cinema in Elephant and Castle, the sister theatre of Troxy, which opened in 1930. It was much larger than the original Wurlitzer at Troxy, which did not survive intact after the venue closed as cinema. The Trocadero was pulled down in 1963 but fortunately three years before that, the organ had been purchased by the Cinema Organ Society and escaped the demolition. It was announced it was being moved to Troxy in 2009, bringing the instrument back to the sort of venue it was originally designed for.

After a campaign costing £275,000, a special celebration evening was held on August 22, 2015 to mark the Wurlitzer’s rebirth at Troxy.

Rated as one of the finest in the world, the Wurlitzer’s console can be moved around inside Troxy depending on the occasion. The use of the Wurlitzer is offered to anyone using the venue for their function, and special events are held so people can hear it played.

Part of the stalls, with tables from when Troxy was a bingo hall

Between 1960 and 1963 Troxy stood empty until the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, took over and created the London Opera Centre former school for the training of opera singers and professionals, was based there from 1963 to 1977.[2] Its purpose was to be used as a rehearsal space, using an extended stage to create the exact same dimensions as the Royal Opera House stage. The team made changes to the internal and basement areas of Troxy, creating multiple rooms for the orchestras to use as well as the stage. The Royal Opera House continued to use Troxy until 1990. The following year the building earned Grade II Listed status with English Heritage.

In the 1980’s Mecca Bingo took over the venue and bingo sessions were held twice a day, seven days a week until 2005 when the rise of online gambling led to Mecca taking the decision to stop using the building.

Troxy Reborn[edit]

The venue was reborn as a live events space in 2006, and has continued to be used for concerts and other events ever since, hosting prestigious awards ceremonies, gigs, films [3] including the world famous Secret Cinema events and earning a reputation as a sports venue. In 2013 it hosted the NME Awards, with the magazine’s editor Mike Williams saying the venue was one of London’s “oldest, coolest and most iconic venues”.[4] The same year Google chose Troxy as the venue for its annual Christmas party for 1,500 guests.[5]

Seen as one of London’s most versatile venues it now hosts live concerts and gigs including some of the biggest bands to play in the capital. In June 2016 Troxy hosted the annual Kerrang! Awards for the fourth consecutive year and is also regularly used for MMA fight nights. Since it reopened, Troxy has held concerts by bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, Flying Lotus, Jarvis Cocker, Beady Eye, Garbage,[6] Morrissey, Doves, Pixies, City and Colour,[7] Stereophonics,[8] Patti Smith[9] and Kano.

Great care was being taken to bring Troxy into the 21st century while preserving its history.[10] The current owners have invested heavily in restoring the venue as much as possible to its original glory while making it suitable for modern audiences.

The venue marked its 80th birthday in 2013 by showing King Kong,[11] the first film it had showed in 1933. Ticket holders were guided to the screening by huge feet painted on the pavement.

History came full circle in November 2009 when Troxy screened its first film for more than 50 years, showing Secret Cinema’s Bugsy Malone, complete with live music and custard pie fights.

The venue has also hosted a number of prestigious award ceremonies and televised events with Plan B[disambiguation needed] and Kylie[disambiguation needed] both awarding accolades to their managers at venue. Danny Boyle presented about the london 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony with The Times at Troxy and Channel 4 hosted it’s Brexit debate at the venue attended by a host of celebrities including Will Self, Sandie Shaw and Sheila Hancock.

Eventim UK has been running its ticketing operations since November 2014.[12]


Troxy has won many awards over the years. In 2013 it was named Venue of the Year at the Eventex Awards and won bronze in the Unusual Venue category at the M&IT Awards in the same year. 2014 was a busy year for awards as Troxy was overall winner of the Eventia Best Venue Team and was named overall winner of Best Venue Team at the Live UK Music Business Awards, which it repeated in the same category in 2016.

Also in 2014 Troxy was highly commended in the Best Venue Space category at the Event Magazine Awards, an event it hosted. Troxy was a finalist for Best Venue at the Evcom Live Awards 2015, and a finalist in the Best Venue Category at the Event Production Awards in the same year.

Controversial events[edit]

The Troxy was criticised by some local residents after hosting a conference for Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2009.[13] In 2010 the management cancelled a similar meeting at the request of Tower Hamlets Council; the English Defence League had planned a demonstration outside, but this was also called off.[14][15] The venue subsequently signed up to Tower's Hamlets "No Place For Hate" campaign and was the first commercial signatory to the project.


Troxy is close to Limehouse Station which is served by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and National Rail services. Overland trains, to and from Fenchurch Street Station, to Shoeburyness in Kent stop at Limehouse. Limehouse Station is in zone two, and sits between Shadwell and Westferry Stations on the DLR. Troxy is located on the A13, also known as Commercial Road. The building is served by the following bus numbers; 15,115, 135, D3, N15, N550, N551


  1. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1065742)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Gilbert and Shir, A Tale of Four Houses, London: HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN 978-0-00-255820-4
  3. ^ Duncan Smith (14 December 2014). "Leicester Square: Do London's cinemas face a fight for survival?". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Event Industry News:
  5. ^ CIT Magazine:
  6. ^ Gigwise:
  7. ^ Gigwise:
  8. ^ Clash Music:
  9. ^ The Line Of Best Fit :
  10. ^ Stage and Screen Insider:
  11. ^ Event Magazine:
  12. ^ "Troxy signs with Eventim". Event Industry News. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Fury over extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir meeting at East End's Troxy, East London Advertiser, 31 July 2009
  14. ^ Council calls on the Troxy and Police to call off divisive conference, Tower Hamlets Council, 9 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  15. ^ Dave Hill, Tower Hamlets: a unity march and some brewing mayoral tensions,, 21 June 2010

External links[edit]

51°30′45″N 0°02′30″W / 51.512465°N 0.041535°W / 51.512465; -0.041535