Architect-designed cinema opens in south east London

Catford Mews – a new three-screen cinema and community hub – is sensitively designed by Really Local Group

Catford Mew's cinema screen with plush seating
(Image credit: press)

Recently opened, Catford Mews is located just below the paws of the locally-famous giant black cat statue, that looks like it’s about to pounce onto the South Circular. It’s an unconventional space to find a cleverly-designed movie theatre. Catford Mews boasts a moody-blue three-screen cinema, a food market, café, bar, live entertainment venue, co-working and exhibition spaces – all in the stripped-back shell of a local Poundland.

Bargains can still be found inside, however. Really Local Group crowd-sourced ideas and comment from Catford residents, in order to provide a genuinely useful and usable community space, together with architecture studio Wren Architecture and Design. And so, popcorn is reasonable, ticket prices affordable, and food from one of the local market vendors is priced for Catford not Dalston. Try Fuse’s fragrant Vietnamese-fusion chicken, and come on a Sunday afternoon for the ‘Family Favourite’ screening for just £2 a head.

Remnants of the old design, remain, too. While most of the floor tiles have been painted over in a classic warehouse grey, a circle has been deliberately left in the middle of the space, where the original orange and brown shopfloor tiles peak through, providing a physical memory of the space's former life. Elsewhere, familiar warehouse tropes are in abundance, with bare walls and exposed ventilation systems.

Catford Mews red bar with circular seating

(Image credit: press)

Catford Mews is one of the first steps in a ten-15 year regeneration plan for the area. A new publication Catford Conversations – that can be picked up on site – reveals more. ‘Lewisham Council is preparing a framework – a shared vision for how Catford’s town centre could be transformed over the next decade. Following the decision to re-route the South Circular, the Council is encouraging bold thinking of how the heart of Catford can be improved.’

Lyttelton.Yates, the designers behind the venue, have gone a long way to keep a sense of community at the cinema's heart, with space for a local charity prominently placed. The space itself is inviting, with some stand out features. Two beautifully crafted bars bookend the space, one serving coffee and the other offering a selection of alcoholic drinks. Classic ‘cinema’ stereotypes have been neatly sidestepped too, with contemporary lighting, a refreshingly boring popcorn stand, and no faux art deco billboard typography in sight.

‘I’d love for someone to think: Catford, I’d really like to live there,’ says a local woman on an advertisement that plays before the film starts. At this, the audience – clearly filled with locals (of which this writer is one) – lets out a genuine, communal cheer.

Exposed brick walls in Catford Mews

The cinema is the first multiscreen in Lewisham in nearly twenty years, offering 220 seats across three movie screens 

(Image credit: press)

Paired image of Catford Mews seating, featuring a red bar and metal seating

The Lewisham venue also offers a live entertainment space for music and comedy

(Image credit: press)

INFORMATION

catford-mews.co.uk (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

32 Winslade Way, Catford,
London SE6 4JU

VIEW GOOGLE MAPS (opens in new tab)

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.