Scala Cinema

275 Pentonville Road,
London, N1 9NL

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Scala Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the north London inner-city district of Kings Cross. An imposing and partially blind facade conceals a rather more prosaic brick box of an auditorium with an asbestos roof.

Built to the design of architect H. Courtenay Constantine and opened on 26th April 1920. It was closed on 8th May 1949, to repair damage done by German bombs during World War II. Extensively altered in 1949 to the plans of T. P. Bennett and Son, it was re-opened as the Gaumont on 17th March 1952. Re-named Odeon 25th November 1962, the Rank Organisation closed the Odeon on 22nd August 1980 with “Airport”.

It was taken over by an independent operator and re-named Kings Cross Cinema, which closed on 29th March 1975 with “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “A Fistful of Dollars”. The building was converted into a Primatarium, diplaying live apes, but this venture was not successful. The stalls were converted to a snooker hall.

In 1980, the operators of the Scala Cinema Club had been ejected from their home on the site of the old Scala Theatre on Charlotte Street, and the former circle was reopened in July 1981 as the 350-seat Scala Cinema. The opening film was the Classic 1933 version of “King Kong”, and the Scala Cinema quickly became a successful ‘art-house’ repertory venue. Especially popular were its all night screenings on the weekends.

Sadly, the Scala Cinema was closed in 1993, after the operating company had gone into receivership, caused by court costs in a battle with director Stanley Kubick. It all happened after they had screened “A Clockwork Orange” illegally, as Kubrick had withdrawn screening rights in the UK, due to bad publicity over gang behavour on its initial 1971 release.

The building is now in use as the Scala nightclub, with concerts and live performances. A church uses the former stage area, and the snooker club still occupies the former stalls area.

Overshadowed for many years by the Kings Cross regeneration scheme, the future of this building is still uncertain, although the 2008 regeneration of St. Pancras Station as an International Eurostar destination has brought more respectable life into this once seedy area of the city.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

woody
woody on May 27, 2004 at 7:34 am

CORRECTION
This building has been open since 1999 as the Scala nightclub and it hosts a lot of varied and very successful evenings and has regular bands performing there.
The nightclub is built in the stalls area and has a separate main dancefloor and stage in the former balcony area and a third dance floor upstairs in what would have been the cirlce lounge/projection rooms.
As you can imagine none of the auditorium decor has survived and the building has gone back to the bare brick, the only remaining areas of interest are the enterance lobby with its terratzo flooring and the staircases that go up the curved corner of the building which retain some plasterwork and decorative metal railings and grills.
Externally the building has been restored and looks wonderful at night with the circular windows picked out in blue neon.
As a point of interest the last film show at the Scala was “a clockwork orange” and this was during the time it was banned in the UK and was the reason the Scala closed.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 27, 2005 at 10:07 am

Exterior photo and some history on the Scala Cinema, Kings Cross, London here:
http://www.tnunn.f2s.com/scala.htm

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 24, 2005 at 7:57 am

Four recent (2003) exterior views of what is now the Scala Nightclub, Kings Cross, London:
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Ian
Ian on September 9, 2007 at 8:27 am

Two daytime shots from September 2007 here:–

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TomJensenMorganfromAustinTexas
TomJensenMorganfromAustinTexas on October 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I spent most Saturday nights there during the academic year 1985 to 1986. I saw my first Tarkovsky movie “Stalker” there. Some of my happiest memories from my time in London were formed in the all-night screenings at the Scala, drinking Long Life and eating cold sandwiches.

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on October 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Do’s anybody know the date the Theatre was bombed during the second world war Please .. I am trying to do research on the subject..

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