La Continentale Cinema
36 Tottenham Court Road,
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Previously operated by: Gala Film Distributors Ltd., George Smart, Marks Circuit Cinemas
Architects: Peter Dollar
Previous Names: Majestic Picturedrome, Majestic Cinema
The Majestic Picturedrome opened on 4th May 1912 and was located on the west side of Tottenham Court Road. In October 1913 the Carlton Picture Theatre would be built almost adjacent to the south of the Majestic Picturedrome.
The Majestic Picturedrome had a 30 feet deep vestibule off the street and then patrons went into a 45 feet long corridor before entering the auditorium. Seating was provided on one level and the proscenium opening was 40 feet wide. There was a large decorated dome in the centre of the ceiling and the side walls were panelled in light oak wood.
From 1915 the Majestic Picturedrome and its neighbour the Carlton Picture Theatre came under the same management of the east End based George Smart circuit and were linked together under various operators for the rest of their life. The Majestic Picturedrome closed at the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 but re-opened a month later, only to close again due to war-time conditions in January 1940, re-opening again on 25th October 1942 by Marks Circuit Cinemas of Manchester.
In 1948 Kenneth Rive, who operated the Gala Film Distributers purchased both cinemas and after a short closure for re-decoration re-opened the Majestic Picturedrome on 24th April 1948 with a new name; La Continentale Cinema. The former Carlton Picture Theatre also re-opened on the same day as the Berkeley Cinema.
The La Continentale Cinema closed on 31st August 1976 with "Peter Sellors in "Return of the Pink Panther" and "General Ida Amin Dada". The Berkeley closed the same day and both buildings together with a whole block along Tottenham Court Road were demolished in 1977 to enable a new office and retail development to be built.
As part of the new development, a new three screen cinema opened on the site of the La Continentale Cinema. It opened as the Classic Cinema on 30th July 1981, later becoming the ABC and today is operating as the Odeon Tottenham Court Road.
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Recent comments (view all 2 comments)
Thanks Lost Memory, ‘Continentale’ is the correct spelling, I will make amends above.
This feels like scaling the heights of trivial obscurity—but I may as well post since I stumbled on it…
Camden Council’s planning website lists an application from 1954 (!) relating to permission for neon signage. In the document titled “drawing,” the spelling shown is “La Continental.”
The letterheading on the “decision notice” document is the “Metropolitan Borough of Saint Pancras”—I must confess that it is news to me that such an entity ever existed! (Note that the “decision notice” is not the correct document—it is actually relates to signage over at the former Berkeley Cinema, 30 Tottenham Court Road.)