Cineworld Chelsea

279 Kings Road,
London, SW3 5EW

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Cineworld Chelsea

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Located in the west London district of Chelsea at an area of Kings Road known as World’s End. The building was constructed and opened in 1910 as the Palaseum Rink and Picture Palace. Films were viewed from a 200 seat balcony, presumably when there was not a roller-skating session in progress. This was a short lived venture as by 1911 plans had been passed in May 1911 for architect A.W. Hudson to convert the building into a full time cinema and it re-opened on 5th October 1911 as the King’s Picture Playhouse with a seating capacity of 964.

It continued until a short closure in early-1943 when it re-opened as the Ritz. It was re-modeled by architect C. Edmond Wilford in 1949 and it became the Essoldo Chelsea. The original decorative facade was smoothed over and raised slightly which gave the building a plainer look.

It was modernised again in 1968 with a reduced seating capacity of 432 (the circle was abandoned) and in 1972 it became the Classic Curzon Cinema Chelsea (Classic already operated the original Classic Cinema further along Kings Road), but it closed in 1973.

The empty and rather dilapidated former cinema was converted into the King’s Road Theatre and was the perfect setting for the original record breaking run of the cult stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show” starring Tim Curry which had originally opened at the Royal Court Theatre, then transfered to the former Classic Cinema on King’s Road. It ran at the King’s Road Theatre until 1979 to packed houses and then transfered to London’s West End at the Comedy Theatre.

The building was then converted back into a cinema, now with four screens and re-named Classic 1-2-3-4 Chelsea (the other Classic Cinema on Kings Road had closed) from April 1980, nothing remained of the original interior decoration. It has continued under further managment take-overs as the Cannon, MGM, Virgin and most recently UGC Chelsea until the July 2005 takeover by Cineworld UK.

In December 2012, plans were announced to close and demolish the Cineworld to build a new Everyman Cinema on the site, but the planning application was refused. In January 2017 it was announced that the Cineworld would closed on 9th March 2017.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

zappomatic on March 2, 2015 at 9:15 am

The latest planning application was refused (on 5 February). Case reference PP/14/07843. I’m pleased!

zappomatic on October 25, 2015 at 3:16 pm

An appeal against the decision is currently in progress.

zappomatic on January 3, 2016 at 11:54 am

Appeal has been allowed and the owner of the site has permission to demolish the building. I wonder when this cinema will close?

cultman1 on January 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

once existing cinema is demolished I assume the developers will include a cinema of sorts in its place? Everyman were considering taking it over?

CF100 on August 5, 2016 at 4:50 am

Planning permission has been granted on appeal.

Three auditoria are proposed for the first floor, 75 seats, 100 seats, and a small cinema for private use. Everyman is cited as the proposed operator.

GPM10 on January 21, 2017 at 12:15 am

Just been notified that this cinema will close permanently on 9 March 2017.

cultman1 on January 21, 2017 at 7:26 am

GPM10 is this therefore going to be demolished and become bijou flats with Everyman Cinema taking over?

cultman1 on February 23, 2017 at 7:28 am

I assume Cineworld Chelsea is still closing in a couple of weeks time?

zappomatic on February 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

I believe that’s the plan. I’m going to miss this cinema; the two larger screens upstairs are actually pretty decent and it’s been well maintained, and staff are friendly. However I won’t miss the uncomfortable, narrow seats with hard armrests (which nearby Cineworld Fulham Road is also afflicted with) and the screen in the basement is comically small for the size of the auditorium.

With Ealing long since demolished, Hammersmith gone, Chelsea closing and Haymarket transferring to Empire (although this seems to have gone very quiet), this could leave only Fulham Road as the last of the slightly oddball rump of non-purpose built multiplexes Virgin kept when they bought MGM. Kind of a shame as they have their own quirky 90s style.

cultman1 on February 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

agreed Zappomatic. And we have the Curzon Chelsea closing soon for yet more flats etc The greedy property developers are out of control

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