London Pavilion

1 Piccadilly Circus,
London, W1J 0DA

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1964 photo courtesy of the Vintage Point Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This large freestanding building opened as a music hall in 1885.

In 1934, the interior was gutted and transformed into a cinema to the design of Frederick G. M. Chancellor of the Frank Matcham Company, and Cecil Masey. It was unusual because it retained two balconies in the irregular shaped site. Seating capacities were provided for 716 in the stalls, 242 in the circle and 251 in the balcony. The London Pavilion was operated by United Artists from 5th September 1934 as their main premiere cinema in London.

It closed on April 26, 1981 and despite some pleas to have it returned to theatre usage, the London Pavilion was sold and all but the outside walls demolished to have a shopping mall constructed inside.

There were to have been two replacement cinemas located on the top floor, but no one seemed interested in operating them and they were converted into Madame Tussaud’s Rock-and-Roll wax museum.

After many years as a failed shopping centre combined with the next-door Trocadero Centre, five floors inside the building were converted into a ‘Ripley’s – Believe It, or Not’ ‘odditorium’ exhibiton space in August 2008.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

smoothie on March 26, 2008 at 6:29 am

Atmospheric photo from 1960-you also get the British weather!

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JohnHolloway on July 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

Worked here for a fortnight in the mid 70’s. Feature was one of the latest Pink Panther films doubled with “A Shot In The Dark”. I was assigned to the top balcony, which had no foyer, so was forced to sit through this double-feature for 8 hours a day! We had 2 x 20 minute breaks per shift which involved going down 2 storeys to the stalls foyer,walking the length of the stalls to a side entrance of the stage, walking behind the screen and then climbing an old metal spiral staircase for another 4 storeys to reach the tea room. Of course, after completing this marathon, it was time to turn back and return to your assigned work position!

I also recall an alarming keystone affect of the screen, due to the steep throw from the bio-box which was situated at the back of the top circle.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

“Rock Around the Clock” at the London Pavilion, photographed in July 1956:
A night-time photograph of “Baby Doll” in January 1957:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 28, 2010 at 7:17 am

A vintage photograph of the London Pavilion in 1946:
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woody on June 15, 2010 at 5:04 am

a press ad from dec 1979 for MOONRAKER at the London Pavilion

CSWalczak on November 25, 2010 at 11:52 pm

A picture of the facade during the 3D run of “It Came from Outer Space” in
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TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

What a history of this theatre.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Loved the BEATLES history and of Course,007 ad.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 18, 2011 at 7:37 am

A vintage postcard view from 1955, showing Piccadilly Circus and the London Pavilion playing “Go, Man Go” the story of the Harlem Globetrotters:
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DavidZornig on February 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I just added a color 1964 photo from the “A Hard Day’s Night” premiere, courtesy of the Vintage Point Facebook page.

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