263 High Street,
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The Kensington Kinema opened on 3rd January 1926. It had an original seating capacity of 2,370 in stalls and circle levels. It was built for and operated by the small Joseph Mears circuit and like their other cinemas was built in an affluent area of London and named after the district.
The Kensington was one of the earliest steel framed buildings to be built in the UK, a method of construction that became prevelant with cinema buildings in the 1930’s. The imposing Classical style facade is dominated by a huge deeply recessed entrance, remeniscent of a proscenium opening. The interior was decorated in what could be described as neo-Greek which had a coffered ceiling. The Kensington Kinema was equipped with a Christie 3Manual theatre organ.
It was re-named Majestic Cinema in July 1940 (in case German parachutists would identify their wherabouts) and it was closed, and taken over by the Government for war-time storage.
It was taken over by the Rank Organisation from 3rd January 1944 and was re-opened as the Odeon on 9th October 1944. Over the years it has undergone several modernisations internally and became a triple screen cinema from 22nd April 1976. A 4th screen opened in September 1980 and two further screens were added in July 1991.
The Odeon underwent a total refurbishment in July 1998 and although the exterior remains as built, there is nothing remaining to be seen of the once ornate auditorium (there are some details remaining in areas out of public view). In 2008, the seating capacities given is the screens were; 520, 66, 91, 267, 173 and 209. It continues to serve the local community, although there were rumours going around in the summer 2005 to demolish and build a Tesco supermarket on the site.
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