Curzon Chelsea Cinema

206 King's Road,
London, SW3 5XP

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Curzon Chelsea Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the southwest London inner city district of Chelsea. This huge cinema building first opened on 8th December 1934 as the Gaumont Palace. It was built on the site of the studios and laboratory of film pioneer William Friese-Greene.

Designed by Gaumont/Provincial Cinematograph Theatres(PCT) architects William E. Trent and Ernest F. Tully it had a seating capacity of 2,502. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/13Rank theatre organ that had an illuminated console. It had a fully equipped stage with flytower, a large scene dock, property room, rehearsal room and eight dressing rooms. There was also a 150 seat cafe which has its own entrance.

Notable decorative features on the facade of the building are a sculpted bas relief head of Friese-Greene with masks of comedy and tragedy on either side, that are positioned high up on the facade. These are the work of designer Newbury Abbot Trent who was the younger brother of the architect Wiilliam E, Trent. On the lower section on each side of the entrance are two Art Deco style panels again by Newbury A. Trent which depict “The Awakening of Science to the Force of the Elements” and “The Harvesting of the Elements in the Film”.

The cinema became the Gaumont Theatre from 1937 and was modernised in 1960. It was re-named Odeon from 7th January 1963 and closed on 11th March 1972 with Sean Connery in “Diamonds Are Forever”.

The foyer and stalls area was converted into a Habitat furnishing store while the former stage area was converted into flats and offices. A new Odeon Cinema seating 739 was created in the former balcony area, using the former cafe entrance as its access. It opened on 9th September 1973 with Roger Moore in “Live and Let Die”. The Odeon closed on 21st November 1981 with Tim Curry in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein”.

The cinema remained closed for almost two years until the independent art house group Artificial Eye took it over and re-named it the Chelsea Cinema. It re-opened it on 15th September 1983 with Gerard Depardieu in “Danton”.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

SethLewis
SethLewis on January 14, 2006 at 9:16 am

Almost a gold standard of a single screen cinema, I used to live around the corner from here. All that’s missing is popcorn which Artificial Eye doesn’t seem to think would fit with the art crowd. Would also love to see some more flexible programming here ie some weekend revival series. Have seen a fair amount of pictures here in 15 years in London including Short Cuts, Billy Elliott, Celebrity, Crouching Tiger Flying Dragon, Sweet and Lowdown, Love and Death on Long Island

benrayner
benrayner on March 4, 2006 at 7:14 pm

a lovely large single-screen gem indeed, but very bland decor and what happened to the curtains ( mostly lost in multiplexes alas) and the gentle music while we wait? Banned because of the high art content? The NFT seems to do nicely without the awful popcorn and still have music. It would be nice to see some revival Big Screen programming mixed in with the Art.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on May 3, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Great place to see a movie with a great appreciative audience. Made many visits here in the 80s

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on February 17, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I love the way they have kept the same logo here for must be nearly 25 years now!

kevinp
kevinp on September 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm

here’s a fabulous bunch of pictures

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SethLewis
SethLewis on January 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Just realized that I posted on this cinema two years ago…my feelings remain the same…now being booked with the Curzons…they are not shy about booking a big box office picture ie a Bond as they are about the right art house product…do wish they were just a bit more fun!

jeremyb
jeremyb on May 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

The Compton organ has been installed in the theatre part of Watford Town Hall, Hertforshire (known as “The Colosseum”) for many years.It was restored to playable condition in 2008, but sees little regular use.

woody
woody on February 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

fab shot on a sunny day in january 2010 just as an immaculate 1960’s riley one point five zoomed past
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glyn_lewis
glyn_lewis on November 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

The opening ceremony in 1934 was performed by Cary Grant.

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