Curzon Renoir Cinema

Bloomsbury Square,
London, WC1N 1AW

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Renoir

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The American-based Walter Reade Organisation opened the 450 seat Bloomsbury Cinema as their first and only British venture. It opened on 19th January 1972 with the movie “The Trojan Women” starring Katharine Hepburn. Located in a basement in the (then) newly-built Brunswick Square complex which included a shopping centre, residential units and a car park.

With its close proximity to the University of London and the British Museum (and two minutes from Russell Square Tube station), it aimed to attract many young people and students with its art house programming. However due to its high admission prices, and hidden location, the Bloomsbury Cinema was a failure and it was taken over by EMI on 4th May 1974 and re-named ABC Bloomsbury. Re-named EMI International Film Theatre in January 1977 it continued its programming screening foreign movies. This venture failed and it was sold to Cinegate who operated the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill Gate, West London. It was re-named the Gate 2 from 23rd February 1978.

The cinema was twinned by a dividing wall down the centre of the auditorium and it re-opened as the Gate 1-2 on September 24th 1981 with seating for 251 and 241 in the two screens, however this closed on 30th October 1985.

After a short period of closure and a re-furbishment by architects Burrell, Foley Associates it re-opened under the management of Artificial Eye and was renamed Renoir Cinema on 9th May 1986.

It has now found success and flourishes as an art house cinema. It was refurbished in 2008 and in November 2008, was taken over by the Curzon Cinemas chain. It closed on 1st June 2014 to be converted into a 6-screen cinema, which is due to re-open in December 2014 as the Curzon Bloomsbury.

The Renoir Cinema is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 20, 2005 at 10:47 am

An exterior photograph prior to the 2005 refurbishment here:
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 15, 2006 at 11:37 am

Photographed in Summer 2005 during refurbishment:
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 10, 2006 at 2:40 pm

Another photograph from the ‘closed for refurbishment’ perion in Summer 2005:
http://flickr.com/photosdanrkelly/91757143/

Ian
Ian on January 1, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Photographed in 1988:–

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Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Flyer for Luchino Visconti’s 1943 Ossessione at the Renoir.

keiths
keiths on October 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I visited this cinema on business in 1976, when it was still a single screen. The thing I remember most was the massive projection suite, which extended cross the entire back wall of the theatre. There was also a toilet in one corner, if I remember correctly.

woody
woody on June 15, 2010 at 10:16 am

a press ad from dec 1979 for the late shows at the Gate Two (and the Gate Notting Hill)
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woody
woody on June 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

another press ad from dec 1979 for The Outsider showing exclusively at the Gate Two
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/4701021075/

Paul Stephenson
Paul Stephenson on September 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm

This cinema closed 1st June 2014 with “Boudu Saved from Drowning” for sub division into 6 screens, reopening in December 2014 as the Curzon Bloomsbury. The architecural drawings show 1 “large” screen of 155 seats in the centre of the original auditorium, 1 “medium” 59 seat screen on the stage, and 4 small screens of either 24 or 29 seats each towards the rear of the original auditorium.

Details at http://www.curzoncinemas.com/news/all/renoir_cinema_curzon_bloomsbury.aspx

The place had similarities to the Angelica Film Centre in Manhattan – great art house film selections, but awkward auditoriums. The cinema had been unsatisfactorily twinned down the centre in 1981.

So, sad to see it close in it’s current format, sad to see the loss of it’s name, but hopeful the reopened cinemas will be better.

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