Classic Chelsea

148-150 King's Road,
London, SW3 4UT

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Locating the west London district of Chelsea. Opened in 1910 as the Chelsea Picture Playhouse, the architect was Felix Joubert and seating was provided for 394 on a single floor. In the early-1920’s it was known as the Electric Cinema Theatre and had this name set into the tiled facade.

By 1937 it had been taken over by Classic Cinemas Ltd. and became one of the first to be operated by this chain that specialised in repertory screenings of classic Hollywood films. Now re-named the Classic Cinema, the facade was reduced in height and given a ‘modern’ look which it retained until closing on 4th August 1973. A typical ‘Classic’ double bill programme of Edward G. Robinson starring in two films, “Little Ceasar” and “Bullets or Ballots” were the final films.

The original stage production of “Rocky Horror Show” starring Tim Curry was transfered from the Royal Court Theatre to the Classic Cinema building for three months. After that, it went onto greater success at the slightly larger King’s Road Theatre along the road, and later into the West End at the Comedy Theatre.

After the short run of “Rocky Horror Show” ended, the building was demolished. Today a branch of Boots the chemist’s shop and offices have been built on the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Jasonmullen
Jasonmullen on February 15, 2006 at 8:22 am

I might not be here if it wasn’t for this building, my late Father Patrick Mullen was Assistant Manager and later manager in the early sixties and my mother a Drama Student worked as an usherette. They met at work and married soon after. It’s no wonder I have an intrest in cinemas!
This was quite a popular cinema in those days and my mother recalls many actors including Alec Guinness and would call in to watch films unnoticed by the public.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on December 13, 2006 at 12:39 am

Isnt this the Classic cinema where The Rocky Horror Show played for awhile after premiering at the Royal Court up the road before it went to the West Ends Comedy Theatre??

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on December 13, 2006 at 3:31 am

Hey jason, thanks for that! I had a pretty good idea it was this one but as there are so many old cinemas in Chelsea i just wanted to make sure. I saw Rocky when it went to the West End but i know a few people who saw it at the Classic. They said it was amazing it was ever allowed to open cos the ceiling was comeing down, wallpaper falling on the audience- how very atmospheric for Rocky! The show lost all its raw fun when it went to the 800+ Comedy, but at least it had a good few years in the West End. Great to be in touch with you on this amazing site

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm

A vintage photograph of the Classic Chelsea in 1967 ‘Swinging London’:
View link

Claudia65
Claudia65 on August 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hi Jason,
I am looking for an Assistant Manager of the classic cinema Chelsea called Daniel. He worked there about 1965/66. The Manager at the time was called Peter Lucas. He is related to my husband. Any ideas? Thanks Claudia

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