Academy 1-2-3

161-167 Oxford Street,
London, W1D 2JN

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Dec. 1980

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Picture House opened on 25 January 1913, and was originally a single screen venue with a two-level auditorium with 601 seats; 434 in the stalls and 171 in the circle, plus stand spaces for 63. There was a ballroom located in the basement. It was re-modeled in 1929 to the plans of architect Leslie H. Kemp and the seating capacity was reduced to 534.

The building suffered bomb damage in October 1940 and didn’t re-open until 14th March 1944. In 1954 it was given a new decorative treatment, designed by photographer Angus McBean, when the auditorium was decorated in a bright red festoon patterned wallpaper.

An additional screen was built in the former basement ballroom, opening on 31st March 1965 with 404 seats. A third smaller screen was built in disused office space, and the cinema was renamed Academy 1-2-3.

The cinema closed permanently on 2 April 1986 screening; “Dangerous Moves”, “The Empty Table” and “The Wanderer”. It was demolished in February 1989 to make way for an office and retail development.

Contributed by Ray Martinez, davidpring, graememcbain

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

davidpring
davidpring on January 16, 2002 at 6:47 pm

A popular art house venue the Academy was originally a single screen venue.An additional screen was built in the basement in the early 1970s and a third smaller screen was built in disused office space.The cinema was demolished many years ago to make way for an extension to a department store.It is sadly missed

graememcbain
graememcbain on November 5, 2002 at 1:50 am

This cinema was located in Oxford Street and opened as The Picture House on 25 January 1913.It was designed by Gilbert and Constanduros and was a two-level auditorium with 668 seats.The building suffered bomb damage in 1940 and didn’t re-open until March 1944.Academy One opened in May 1964,Academy Two in March 1965 and Academy Three in April 1967.The theatres closed permanently on 2 April 1986 and were demolished in 1989.

DAVIDFREEMAN
DAVIDFREEMAN on November 2, 2003 at 6:30 pm

I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THIS CINEMA TAKEN IN 1977…..
FOYER…AUDITORIUM…PROJECTORS…

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 14, 2005 at 1:13 am

On April 22, 1973 I saw two films at the Academy. At Academy 1, Claude Chabrol’s Just Before Nightfall; at Academy 3, Miklós Jancsó’s Red Psalm.

kevinp
kevinp on August 7, 2005 at 2:27 am

I went to the last day’s screening’s there, prior to the demolition.
The supermarket chain Marks And Spencers swallowed up the space, albeit, the offices to the side is called “ Academy” Buildings.

An early picture can be found on this wonderful link.

View link

best

kev p

exciterlamp
exciterlamp on May 15, 2006 at 5:17 am

For me the highlight of the year was the annual programme of the Olivier Shakespeare trilogy – “Henry V”, “Hamlet” and “Richard III”. “Henry V” on a big screen in sumptuous colour-saturated IB Technicolor never ceased to impress. It was an absolute disgrace that permission was granted to demolish this wonderful theatre.

doojeen
doojeen on June 4, 2008 at 3:15 am

On my first visit to London in 1975 I saw several films in a Buster Keaton season at the Academy – a really unique experience, as they were the only silent films I’ve ever seen in a cinema, complete with live piano accompaniment. Another interesting fact about the Academy is that the basement was once a dancehall, which became the first location of the Marquee Club from 1958 to 1964.

View link

Francesco
Francesco on July 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

Did the Academy show trailers? Is there any information available online as to old programmes of films and brochures etc?

Is there anyone who worked at the Academy still around to talk to?

Many thanks

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