Cineworld Cinema - Fulham Road

Fulham Road and Drayton Gardens,
London, SW10 6SD

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ABC Fulham Road

The Forum Theatre opened on 18th December 1930 with Lupez Velez in “The Storm”. Also in the opening bill was a variety stage show starring Clapham & Dwyer with a 24 piece orchestra. The original seating capacity was 2,200 in stalls and circle. The style of decoration was Classical, with Romanesque touches and there was a large 80 feet wide coffered dome in the auditorium ceiling. The side-walls were decorated with pastoral Italian scenes.

The stage was 30 feet deep and the proscenium was 45 feet wide. There were eight dressing rooms and the theatre was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/8Rank organ. The projection box was located in the rear of the orchestra stalls rather than the usual position at the rear of the circle. The Forum Theatre had a circular shaped tea room/cafe located above the main entrance.

It was the first of three theatres to be designed for Herbert A. Yapp’s Wyanbee Theatres, a small circuit located in the north of London. The other two Forum Theatres at Kentish Town and Ealing were also designed by architect J. Stanley Beard for the circuit in 1934. The circuit was sold to Associated British Cinemas (ABC) on 8th April 1935. This cinema was re-named ABC in 1961 and during the 1960’s the Compton organ was removed. In June 1974 it was closed for conversion into a three-screen cinema (one in the circle, two in the stalls) and in early 1975 a fourth screen was added in an adjacent squash court that had been built on the theatre’s car park. In 1977 the circle screen was divided into two screens. In recent years a sixth screen opened above the former squash court screen.

It has gone through several changes in ownership since the demise of ABC Cinemas and is currently operated by Cineworld. This cinema’s features include a beautiful exterior and lobby, along with a very courteous staff. Although all of the trappings of the original auditorium have been scrapped, you can still some of the balcony molding in auditoriums four and five and in the main entrance foyer.

Seating capacities are for 348, 327 in the former circle and 173 in the upper area of the squash court, and 219, 204 in the former stalls and 155 in the lower area of the squash court.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Ian; The squash court was built on the car park at the rear of the building, on its right hand side.

AdoraKiaOra on May 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm

OK, many thanks Ken.
All the times I’ve seen movies here in the last 25 years I had no idea of that extension.

SethLewis on May 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm

In my twenty – thirty years in London this is one of those with the nearby Cineworld Chelsea that has been an ABC, A Cannon, MGM, Virgin, UGC, and now Cineworld…it serves its purpose in the neighborhood efficiently…and am pleasantly surprised it has survived even if it looks a bit tired at the heels…Have seen White Palace, Godfather III, Big Lebowski, Best in Show, Man in the Moon, Sixth Sense, Deep Blue Sea, Buena Vista Social Club, State and Main, O Brother How Art Thou, House of Sand and Fog, Other People’s Money, Dr T and the Women here over the years…probably one or two more

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 27, 2009 at 2:38 am

A set of vintage photographs of the Forum/ABC Fulham Road:
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Original auditorium view:
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In January 1958, the former tea room/cafe in the Forum Theatre was converted into a ladies hairdressing salon, named Elstree Studio Hair Stylists:
View link

Mike_Blakemore on October 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Have load 4 pictures hope you enjoy

glyn_lewis on November 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I worked in the box office here 1985-91. There were several 70mm presentations in screen 1 during that time. They were : Revolution, Little Shop of Horrors, The Untouchables, The Witches of Eastwick, Cry Freedom, Ibdiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman. The last 70mm was Far abd Away in ‘92. Does anybody know what the first one was? As of 1990 the #1 box office champion was “Dangerous Liaisons” with a gross of £243,000. The total gross in 1989 was £2,825,000; six times the 1985 figure during a flourishing period for the cinema. It was the first ABC/Cannon to have computerised ticketting in '87.

Zappomatic on January 3, 2016 at 11:55 am

This cinema is getting a Starbucks – no idea whether this will replace or be in addition to the existing bar.

Zappomatic on March 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

My first visit here today since the Starbucks replaced the downstairs bar. Furniture from the downstairs bar has been moved to the upper foyer as well as the Circle Bar (which seems to be used as an event space rather than as a bar) however both concessions kiosks now offer alcohol, and you can take your drink into the screens.

GPM10 on June 14, 2018 at 2:43 am

Visited this cinema on 12 June and now concerned for its future. Cineworld are currently refurbishing all of their older cinemas, and this has ominously been apparently left off the list. Both the exterior and interiors have a deeply outdated feel. I visited Screen 1 for the first time in years, and the experience was awful : tired, worn seats, appalling sound from old behind-screen speakers and atrocious projection of the main feature – a dull anamorphic image projected onto the unmasked centre of a standard 16:9 ratio screen. Given the potential for massive property profits to be gained from a residential redevelopment of this site, I think the end is nigh. A real pity from many points of view.

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