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After years of trying to track down a picture of the interior, I finally find one which ought to have been freely available – it’s one of Maltby’s pictures – but oddly doesn’t feature in the otherwise complete national archive collection of his work. Never mind: it’s now in the photo section above, so have a good long wander down memory lane….
The building on the far right, set back from the road, is the original Ionic.
And this is its interior
This is the original facade:
As of mid-2011, fifty years after its demolition, it is still a hole-in-the-ground car park. Progress….
There most certainly was a Circle! I sat there often enough (and indeed had several formative encounters there unrelated to film) It must have seated between 400-500, the rest being in the Stalls (around 800)the back of which had a semi-occluded view of the whole enormous screen because of the overhang. If you look at any of the surviving photos of what was a large building http://www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/hendon2.jpg
you will see that it was very high, with an giant tea-rooms/restaurant behind the windows on the first floor, which backed on to the Circle entrance through a single, central door. As far as I know, right to the end it retained its original, multi-drop curtains: and the decor was pure Art Deco. Do any interior shots exist?