1 Piccadilly Circus,
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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 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.
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