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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. On 27th July 1965 the Royal World Premiere of “Help!” drew a crowd of 10,000 fans outside the cinema. On 29th December 1965 the London Pavilion shared a Gala Premiere of “Thunderball” with the nearby Rialto Theatre. On 18th October 1967 the World Premiere of “How I Won the War” was held here.

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 plans to have been two replacement cinemas located on the top floor, but no one seemed interested in operating them and the spaces 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 27 comments)

TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2010 at 5:54 am

What a history of this theatre.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Loved the BEATLES history and of Course,007 ad.

DavidZornig on February 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

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

DavidZornig on October 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm

1949 photo added courtesy of Richard Thurbin.

goodshow on October 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Photo added of presentation at the Pavilion to accompany the post of MoviesWithDad on 1st July 2014. Not well received critically, the Pavilion showing lasted a mere 10 days, from 19 March to 1st April, 1970

DavidZornig on October 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

1939 photo added credit S&G Barratts.

cultman1 on August 11, 2016 at 2:26 am

the Pavilion (or what is left of it) and local area is total tat now and decaying badly .It is a real shame the lanlords cant get rid of the cheap shops and rubbish outlets and refurbish this magnificent grade 2 listed building.

PROJIE on June 20, 2018 at 6:06 am

The cinema also screened Tom Jones, which had a long run there.

DavidZornig on July 17, 2018 at 7:50 pm

50 years ago today.
World Premiere of “Yellow Submarine”, July 17, 1969.
Photo added via Mike Simunek‎.

vindanpar on July 18, 2018 at 4:20 am

When I was in London this was playing King Kong(Jan ‘77 I believe). I had no interest in seeing the film so I didn’t go in. How I regret it! What a façade it had and I love the Yellow Submarine.

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