ABC Hendon

260 Hendon Way,
London, NW4 3NL

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ABC Hendon

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This large suburban cinema is located opposite Hendon Central underground railway (tube) station in the northwest London district of Hendon. It opened as the Ambassador Cinema on 15th February 1932. It was designed by architect G.E. McLeavy, working out of the office of the architectural firm of Henry F. Webb & Ash. It was built for London and Super Cinemas Ltd. and was equipped for live variety shows and its facilities included a cafe and a Compton 3Manual/8Ranks theatre organ. It was taken over by Gaumont British Cinemas in December 1933 and re-named Gaumont in 1949.

The Gaumont was one of many Rank Organisation cinemas which were sold to the Classic Cinemas chain in December 1967 and they modernised the building and it re-opened as the Classic Cinema on 8th December 1968 with “Survival” and Pierre Etaix in “As Long As You’re Healthy”.

It was split into three screens in February 1973 with seating now 580, 399, and 423. Classic Cinemas were taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group and it was re-named Cannon in December 1985. Another name change came when Cannon Cinemas sold out to MGM Theatres and it became the MGM Cinema from 1993, but this was short lived and a further final name change to ABC Hendon occured in 1996. The ABC was closed on 20th January 1997 with the films “Daylight”, “Star Trek:First Contact”, “Jingle All The Way”, and “101 Dalmations”.

The former Ambassador Cinema was converted into a Holmes Place gym and fitness centre, which is now known as the Virgin Active Health Club.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 30, 2006 at 12:39 am

As seen in October 2006 as Holmes Place, Health Club:
http://flickr.com/photos/satguru/279131119/

Chriff
Chriff on September 25, 2008 at 7:33 am

I was assistant manager here briefly between 1973-4 to the colourful Douglas Baker. Despite taking new releases a week after the Odeon, we regularly did better business. Once a junior projectionist opened the matinee very much the worse for wear following a lunchtime session causing me to shut down the show temporarily. No-one actually complained other than to point out the house lights were going up and down and the screen tabs opening and closing, all with the picture on the screen. In the box, the film was spilling all over the floor so the Chief had to be called in on his time off to put it right – and he was not best pleased.

Ian
Ian on April 19, 2009 at 1:32 am

The stage house, associated dressing room accommodation and back stage facilities have been demolished and replaced by apartments.

Photographed in April 2009:-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/3454180698/

orpheum
orpheum on May 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

When Classic took over this cinema,they made it their flagship.there were many stage shows.i remember syd Lawrence and his orchestra and the comedian Libby Morris.I again was present at the last performance.

Billy
Billy on February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Many happy memories of this cinema – we moved nearby in 1995 and this became our local until closure. There was a little newsagent by it where everyone would buy food and drinks for much cheaper than in the auditorium!

Even at this time there was a ‘Saturday Kids Club’ where a magician or other entertainer would perform on the stage before the feature – something I’ve never seen since and must have seemed like from a bygone age even then! But to my seven year old eyes it was great, and I was disappointed when it closed.

ArtDirector
ArtDirector on June 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

This used to be my local cinema when my parents lived in Hendon. I was amazed at the sound of the ‘traps’ (Timpani) coming from an organ, as I was used to the ‘straight’ organ in the local church. The main house tabs were a deep plum red with a gold design of rectangles appliqued on. Latterly the screen curtains were not used and I could never decide whether this was ‘modernity’ or if the tab motor had burnt-out. I was aware of the partial fly tower over the stage and was saddened that only one play ‘The Amorous Prawn’ ever played there live. I went to see “Oklahoma!” on screen there. It was always a dark auditorium and when the house lights came up, I was the only person sitting in the circle…

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