Rivoli Ballroom: the April Fool that went under the radar

Inside Rivoli Ballroom Pic: Laura Raphael

Inside the Rivoli Ballroom Pic: London Lime

The owner of the last standing 1950’s ballroom in London said he almost  “had a heart attack” when a journalist called to say the venue was up sale on commercial property website, Movehut.

Bill Mannix and his wife Jeanie have been running the venue on Brockley Road for over three decades, and when the news spread locals took to the blogsphere to express their concern.

Talks even began about the future of the ballroom and the possibility of organizing a campaign to grant the venue Asset of Community Value status.

When eastlondonlines spoke to Mannix about how the family owned building could have gone up for sale without them knowing, it looks as though he is having the last laugh.

Mannix “guesses” it was an April Fool but the owner, now in his seventies, did say the venue will “soon be up for sale and there is an interested party”.

Even though Mannix says he does not even have email, the April Fool certainly went viral, so much so that three days later news outlets are still running the story of “the shock sale”.

The couple previously put the ballroom on the market in 2007 over the rising costs of maintaining the building, as well as concerns about Mannix’s health.

However, the sale was halted a year later when the venue was granted Grade II listed status by English Heritage.

A Brockley gem, the Rivoli is a massive 15,000 sq ft. space, which boasts two chandeliered ballrooms – one with original red velvet interior, two bars and a Blue Room.

It is a popular space for private hire, public concerts and dance events, with acts such as Florence and the Machine and the White Stripes taking to the stage. And if Movehut is anything to go by, perhaps the venue will soon be on the market for a cool £7.5m.

 By Yara Zeitoun and Laura Raphael

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