Classic Kilburn

405 Kilburn High Road,
London, NW6 7QF

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Located in the northwest London district of Kilburn, on the busy Kilburn High Road, a few yards south of Kilburn Underground (tube) rail station. The Envoy Cinema opened in late-1937, its opening eclipsed by the opening on 20th December 1937 of the magnificent Gaumont State Theatre just along the road. While the Gaumont State Theatre was a movie palace with 4,004 seats, the Envoy Cinema was at first a news and cartoon cinema seating less than 400.

Decorated in an Art Deco style, the screen was at the front of the building behind the facade. Entrance was gained to the auditorium via a long corridor which ran alongside the right hand side of the auditorium (left side of the building when viewed from the street), and patrons then entered from the rear as in most normal cinemas. Exits were at each side of the screen and led onto the High Road. The floor only had a very gentle rake and seating was on one level.

The Envoy Cinema was taken over by the Classic Repertory Cinemas chain and was re-named Classic Cinema from 31st July 1955. It closed on 26th April 1984 with Walt Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”.

The building lay empty and increasingly derelict for many years until it was demolished and the site re-developed for housing and restaurant use.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

edwards
edwards on April 12, 2007 at 3:30 pm

I remember going there in the 70’s Ivy worked there on the door and i lived just next door to it!.

edwards
edwards on April 12, 2007 at 3:35 pm

I lived at 397 kilburn high rd, just before the tube station i also posted the last remark.

Bill_Gibbs
Bill_Gibbs on May 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I worked there as a relief projectionist in the 1960s I remember the Kalee 11 projectors and very ancient arclamps (I can’t remember the make). At the time I was a part time projecionist at the (old) classic Chelsea. I was still at school and was not allowed to enter the auditorium if an “X” certificate film was playing!

Ian_Greenwood
Ian_Greenwood on July 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Would that have been 1974, when the Classic closed, rather than 1964? I was a regular customer 1966-67. And I went back to see the sites of all four Kilburn cinemas earlier today!

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