London has many obscure gems but the Rivoli Ballroom may just be one of the city’s best kept secrets. This decadent 1950s venue has sat quietly and unassumingly in south-east London for many years.
In the past it played host to many legendary club nights and some pretty decent gigs (I was lucky enough to see Damon Albarn play here recently). Its incredible interior has been utilised by many film crews.
When I moved south of the river, it was the first place I searched for. You can’t miss the Rivoli, with its art deco facade juxtaposed against the row of local convenience stores.
More often than not it’s in complete darkness, which only adds to its charm and mystery. The treasure trove within is breathtaking – under lock and key for certain eyes only.
There’s a calmness about the Rivoli Ballroom. Outside walls are painted in soft pastel tones with elegant dancers above it’s doors and a suitable amount of decay too, which I love. Missing letters and peeling paint, it seemed like the perfect subject matter.
However, I wanted to capture it in its full glory: those rare nights where hustling queues form outside, the glow of the lampshades stream through the doors out into the night air giving it a heightened feel of celebration.
The Rivoli Ballroom is from a bygone era, and continues to impress today: a beautiful anachronism.
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