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1900 - 2020
THE GRAND’S AMAZING HISTORY

Joining the dots between Charlie Chaplin to The Vengaboys, Oasis to Bianca Del Rio & everything in-between!

The Grand was established in 1900 by some of the most popular performers of the time. Launched at the height of the Music Hall, since then we’ve been a Cinema, Bingo Hall (almost a petrol station & Wetherspoons!) a Live Music Venue and then a Nightclub, always remaining true to our original aim: to entertain. Most recently we have revived our original mission: the perfect blend of variety and quality. With immersive movie screenings or an irreverent take on bingo one night, and world-class comedians, musicians and DJs the next, we’re reinventing the best of the past for new audiences, adding a modern twist, whilst looking to the future.

Read on below for more details of our incredible past. Click on each era for photo’s, posters, programmes and more of ours & your memories. Please email us on thegrandmemories@gmail.com with any of your own to be added here!
 
1900 – 1930 THE MUSIC HALL & VARIETY YEARS
‘THE NEW GRAND PALACE OF VARIETIES’

We were founded by one of the kings of Music Hall Dan Leno (who created the role of the Pantomime Dame!), with the ambition of providing a stage and a venue for performers and locals of the Battersea Area. We held regular performances by all the Music Hall & Variety greats, from Marie Lloyd to the world famous Charlie Chaplin. After cutting his teeth here with us, one of our managers, Walter Gibbons, went on to build The Palladium! 

1931 – 1963 WE ADDED FILMS & THEATRE – CINE VARIETY WAS BORN
‘THE GRAND THEATRE’ & ‘ESSOLDO CINEMA’
As Cinema became all the rage in the 30’s we moved with the times and a projector room was installed so we could add movies to our repertoire. We never forgot our Variety roots, and often included performances before and after the films (something you will be massively familiar with now with our current Movie Nights!), keeping our talented performers in work in the process.
We showed the film premiere of a little-known comedy duo Laurel & Hardy during this era. We also started hosting Theatre Shows, with a certain Morecombe & Wise, who took to our stage for their first ever performance of original material. 
We’ve now converted the projection room on the 5th floor into a tiny cinema, comedy hall & karaoke bar if you wondered what on earth we are doing with it now!
1964 – 1978 THE BINGO TIMES 
‘ESSOLDO BINGO CLUB’, ‘VOGUE BINGO CLUB’ & MECCA BINGO

After a failed attempt to turn us into a Petrol Station, for 15 years we were exclusively a Bingo Hall! Initially run by independent groups, it proved so popular that the then big boys of Bingo Mecca took over, until they vacated our building in 1979. Little did they know Bingo would return to our venue in our present day incarnation with the globe trotting success story that is Bongo’s Bingo. A lot more confetti, booze and dancing than Mecca’s 1978 version….

1979 – 1990 
WE WERE SADLY EMPTY
We thankfully gained Grade 2 listed status in 1978, which protected us during the long period of closure. We missed all of the 80’s! Imagine the bands and parties we would have held here! The outfits! The Music!
1991 – 1997 THE LIVE MUSIC YEARS
‘THE CLAPHAM GRAND’

We were lovingly restored back to our former glory by Vince Power and the Mean Fiddler Group, resurrecting us as a Live Music Venue. This saw world famous acts like The Kinks, George Clinton, Nick Cave, & Public Enemy grace our stage, alongside The Verve, Suede and The Manic Street Preachers all performing at the peak of their powers. Unfortunately this period of amazing gigs ended far too soon, and we became perilously close to becoming a Wetherspoons thankfully avoided by an intervention from Vanessa & Corin Redgrave…That’s a story for another day though!

1998 – 2014 OUR CLUBBING PERIOD
‘THE CLAPHAM GRAND’
As Britpop peaked and clubbing took over we embraced this era with open arms. The cult Dr Glitz’s  70’s night caused thousands to queue every Friday, Norman Jay brought his Good Times, the cream of Breakbeat tore our decks up with Scratch Perverts to Krafty Kuts guesting, promoters Lock and Load brought SW4 after parties, and Garage found itself a spiritual home! 
With the focus turning to late nights our light up dance floor gave you all somewhere to dance until the early hours, but we still found the time to host some incredible gigs, with Oasis and Muse taking to our stage, and for the Taskmaster fans out there, you’ll notice us as the setting for the first two series! 
2015 – 2020 & BEYOND
‘THE GRAND, CLAPHAM JUNCTION – A PALACE OF MODERN VARIETY
Realising that people’s tastes were changing, we paved the way for a brighter, more vibrant and diverse programme of events. Returning to our Music Hall and Variety roots we regularly feature performances by up-and-coming comedians (Mo Gilligan, James Acaster and Luisa Omelian to name a few) whilst becoming a home for the LGBTQ+ community, with world class Queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Sink The Pink & Pride hosting parties and the cream of London’s Drag Scene treading our boards. Our Movie Nights provide sing & dance-alongs with our in-house show team of performers, Bingo has returned courtesy of Bongo’s Bingo & we still host the occasional Theatre Show! 
Globally successful live acts from George Ezra and Rag & Bone Man have cut their teeth on our stage, there are incredible White Collar Boxing matches for Charity (The Met Police vs The Fire Brigade being a particularly feisty one!) and our legendary Brunch Parties cater for those early party starters! Through all of this our Club Nights, with guest slots by the likes of The Vengaboys, Girls Aloud and Artful Dodger (yes Garage is still going strong) are keeping you dancing away till 3am. 

PLEASE DONATE TO HELP US CONTINUE ENTERTAINING YOU 

Click here to see how you can help us fundraise to overcome the effects of Covid-19 on our Independent Business, whilst also supporting the NHS and vital local charities.