Friday, 13 May 2022

Local History The Rio and The Royal

Although I was born a Welshman, I grew up in Kent. When all the kids were being evacuated from Kent to Wales, to avoid the German Bombing during World War II, my parents moved me from Wales to Kent... and we got bombed!

In short, I grew up on the Isle-of-Sheppey and left, aged 21, in 1959. I didn't realise that I would never return there to live again. However, it was a great place to grow up and I still feel semi-rooted there and, latterly, I have kept in touch through a Facebook Group called, 'The Sheppey History Page'. Which turned out to be interesting, informative, very friendly and active.

As you can imagine it has a great deal of Memory Lane wanderings, despite the many generations spanned by the membership. One of the common concerns is the loss of many of the old buildings. I undertook to draw many of these demolished, and neglected, old buildings.

I began with the Rio Cinema and its neighbour the Royal HotelThe Victorian hotel was built in 1825 by Sir Edward Banks who also built parts of Sheerness Royal Dockyard and the London and Waterloo Bridges.

Sheerness Rio Cinema was designed by George Coles and opened in June 1937 and demolished in 1988. Although it only had a 51-year lifespan it became an iconic feature to the wartime generation and beyond, and is well worth commemorating.

Here they are:


  1. Gorgeous buildings. Captured beautifully by your skill, John. Why, oh why, did such beautiful creations get demolished and done away with ? Thank You for preserving such beauty.

  2. It all began the day they replaced value with cost effectiveness, David. Glad you like my attempts at conservation