Odeon Highgate

52 Junction Road,
London, N19 5XP

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Plans by architectural firm T.P. Bennett & Son for the Odeon Highgate had been passed in 1939, and construction began in May 1939. It was planned to be part of the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, only half of the exterior walls were completed and work was halted. Permission to complete the basics of the building were granted in March 1940 and the walls were finished and the roof was added. The building was then used for storage for the duration of the war. Building work commenced again to fit out the cinema to revised plans in March 1955, and it opened on 19th December 1955 with Donald Sinden in “An Alligator Named Daisy”.

Located on a corner site at Junction Road and Bickerton Road, in what is closer in this north London neighbourhood to Upper Holloway and Archway, rather than Highgate. The facade at the entrance was clad in cream tiles and there was a short tower feature to the left. Inside the auditorium, seating was provided for 998 in the stalls and 736 in the circle. The seating capacity had been reduced by 240 from the original pre-war plans due to the provision of a wider proscenium to accommodate wide-screen presentations. Decoration in the auditorium was quite plain and it had a stepped ceiling which contained clusters of lights flush to its surface.

The Odeon led an uneventful and rather short-lived life as it was closed by the Rank Organisation on 6th January 1973 with Sid James in “Carry On Abroad” and “East Side, West Side”.

The building and land was sold to the Utopian Housing Society and it was demolished in 1974. Ash Court, a block of flats used as sheltered housing for the elderly is now on the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 15, 2006 at 10:55 pm

An exterior photograph taken in April 1956, four months after opening:
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An April 1971 view:
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FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Guess “Highgate” was to avoid any confusion with the Holloway Odeon nearby. Donald Sinden also appeared at the opening of the Gaumont, later Odeon, Holloway.

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