440 Alexandra Avenue,
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Architects: Frank Ernest Bromige
Functions: Religious Services
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Gaumont Rayners Lane, Odeon Rayners Lane, Ace Cinema
Located in the Rayners Lane district of Harrow, Middlesex, today part of northwest Greater London. The Grosvenor Cinema opened on 12th October 1936 with Jean Hersholt in “The Country Doctor”. It is most notable for its fantastic facade, sometimes referred to as ‘the elephant’s trunk’. The auditorium had a seating capacity for 1,235, with 830 in the stalls and 405 in the circle. The stage was 44 feet deep, and there were six dressing rooms. There was a cafe located in a sunken area in the centre of the main foyer.
It was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. on 5th May 1937 and renamed the Odeon in 1941. It became the Gaumont on 26th October 1950, then renamed the Odeon again on 27 April 1964, but with reduced seating to 1,185.
From 1st November 1981 it was taken over by an independent operator and re-named Ace Cinema. It was at this time that the building was granted the status of a Grade II Listed building. The Ace Cinema closed on the 6th October 1986, and two years later it’s listing was upgraded to Grade II*.
It then became a wine bar, known as the Ace Bar in the main foyer, with a night club in the auditorium named the Grosvenor Cine/Bar Experience. The auditorium became the Studio Warehouse nightclub and operated into the mid-1990’s.
The building lay empty and unused for several years until 2000, when it was taken over by the Zoroastrian Centre for Europe and became the Zoroastrian Centre, in use for religious services.
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