Cineworld Chelsea

279 Kings Road,
London, SW3 5EW

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Cineworld Chelsea

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

SethLewis
SethLewis on July 27, 2005 at 12:07 pm

A serviceable neighborhood theatre…the upstairs screen number 3 is probably the most comfortable…Have seen a wide range of pictures here over the years including The Prince of Tides, High Heels, In and Out, The Edge, Fight Club, Traffic, What Women Want, Bofinger, There’s Something About Mary and The Matrix

The scary part is that in my 15 years in London this and the Fulham Rd theatre among a couple of others have been rebranded 5 times from Cannon to MGM to Virgin to UGC and now to Cineworld…How is the customer supposed to develop any sort of allegiance?

KenRoe
KenRoe on August 13, 2006 at 11:37 pm

A recent (August 2006) photograph of the Cineworld Chelsea:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zonca/214889424/

KenRoe
KenRoe on September 3, 2006 at 11:15 am

Photographed in 2002 operating as the UGC Chelsea:
http://www.moviebunker.com/ugc_chelsea.htm

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

This is a December 2008 photo.

woody
woody on February 15, 2011 at 7:19 am

press ad from march 1971 as the essoldo chelsea playing warhols flesh
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/5448307056/

jeremyb
jeremyb on December 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Evening Standard reports (December 12 2012) that the cinema is to be demolished and replaced by a new 4-screen Everyman cinema, opening in 2015. So one of London’s oldest cinema buildings is to go..

Billy
Billy on February 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Still open as of February 2014 and seemingly no sign of closure.

zappomatic
zappomatic on March 8, 2014 at 8:06 am

Currently receiving a full re-paint inside.

Billy
Billy on March 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Interesting to hear – when I went just last month it was still very much stuck in the Virgin/UGC days of the late 1990s.

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