Victoria Station Cartoon Cinema

Buckingham Palace Road,
London, SW1 W0

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The Cartoon Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located adjacent to Platform 19 on the Buckingham Palace Road side of Victoria Railway Station in the centre of London. A quite amazing little cinema positioned over the concourse of the station with just a small but highly stylized entrance paybox and staircase at ground floor level leading to the 1st floor auditorium.

This contained a single flat floor with seating divided into three blocks – two outer with 4 seats per row and a central block of 7 seats per row.

The auditorium was barrel shaped with an attractive proscenium and a large clock on the left hand side. The whole was specially insulated against noise and vibration from the railway station outside.

It never moved on to presenting feature films – one major drawback was that it had no toilets of its own (patrons had to come down the stairs, exit the cinema and walk a few yards to the public toilets on the railway station concourse).

Operated by the Classic Cinemas chain, the Victoria Station News Theatre was one of several small newsreel theatres in London and in later years showed continuous 1-hour programmes of short subjects and cartoons. It was quietly closed and demolished in 1981.

Contributed by Ian Grundy, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 19, 2005 at 11:25 pm

Some other newsreel and short subject cinemas located in train stations:

Grand Central Theatre, New York
South Station Theatre, Boston
Newsreel Theatre, Cincinnati

exciterlamp
exciterlamp on May 25, 2006 at 8:49 am

I visited this cinema on its last day, as I knew the projectionist Ray Aguillar. It was a very sad occasionand some of the staff were near to tears.

stevecoldrick
stevecoldrick on January 15, 2007 at 8:51 am

It wasn’t a dream!
I have been reminiscing about my late father and some of the places
he used to take me as a kid. I was sure i once went to a cinema on Victoria Station and watched some Tom & Jerry cartoons.
Then again it was some 30 odd years ago and i wasn’t sure whether i had imagined the whole thing. So sad its not there anymore as i would have loved to repeat the experience with my kids. Still, many thanks for confirming the memory, I’ll now continue my 37 yr old daydream!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 1, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Victoria Station was the name of a chain of bad restaurants in LA about twenty years ago. Now I get the connection.

Chriff
Chriff on September 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

This was my first post as a trainee cinema manager with Classic Cinemas in 1973. A Mrs Evans, then in her 70s was the manageress and the doorman, Walter, was in his 80s. The programme – cartoons, Movietone News, serial – ran round-the-clock from 11.00 am for about an hour with adverts. Tickets were bought at a street level kiosk on the walk through from Buckingham Palace Road into the station, which usually clocked up more in sweet and tobacco sales. There were regular complaints from women on their own about the attentions of other patrons – but mostly well after the event!

RobertR
RobertR on October 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Its amazing this could operate with a film policy as it did until 1981.

sherlock
sherlock on July 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

hi.there this is ray aguilar,i was there on the closing night,even lent the chief dave oddy a reel of old nitrate newsreel to show,happy memories,anyone remember th waterloo station news theatre.ray

Billy
Billy on November 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Apparently this was the last cartoon cinema left in the UK when it closed with ‘The Hound that Thought He was a Raccoon’ on August 27th, 1981. I’d been told by my father about them but I never knew how long they lasted.

lunaluna
lunaluna on February 18, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I’m sad to pass on the news that David Oddy passed away on Jan 12, 2015 in Oxford at age 74. His cinema career spanned almost five decades, starting in the late 1950’s. He was chief projectionist at several major cinemas in the West End of London, including the Victoria Station Cartoon Cinema. The BBC interviewed David on the sad day when it closed in 1981. He also worked at several other greater London cinemas, including an art house in Richmond.

David was well known and respected among his fellow projectionists. In his time most of the West End cinema projectionists knew one another as they frequented the same pubs and it was common practice to move employment from cinema to cinema. David was one of the most colorful of the lot with his quick mind, sense of humor, impeccable dress, and his love of gadgets and anything mechanical. I’m sure he and his buddy Jim Carter will both be remembered fondly as long as any of that group is still around.

David spent the last decade of his career in the AV department of the Imperial War Museum. There he had the opportunity to handle and show rare archival footage and to meet many dignitaries at exclusive screenings. He retired to Oxfordshire upon retirement.

In the days before digital filming,the projection booth was quite an engineering project. Dave was a self taught engineer who built several booths from the ground up. Long before digital controllers he devised mechanical contraptions to automatically open and close the curtains in front of the screen, to raise and lower the house music volume and to dim and raise the house lights.

The skills that David took pride in and that brought a fabulous entertainment experience to so many people in the pre-digital era are now almost entirely lost. He was an exceptionally inquisitive creative person and a loyal friend. He’ll be missed.

Mags
Mags on March 28, 2015 at 11:26 am

Was this the little News and Cartoon cinema with an entrance just outside Victoria Station? If so my mother used to take me when I was a baby along with her friend Molly and they used as a drinking vessel the head my little rubber doll. I loved the cartoons, Charlie Chaplin shorts and all the newsreels of WW2 which had ended a couple of years earlier.

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