Lumiere Cinema

42-49 St. Martin's Lane,
London, WC2N 4EJ

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A modern basement cinema designed by Casson, Condor and Partners, this was a supremely comfortable but very plain cinema. It opened on October 12, 1967 with Julie Andrews in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" which played for almost one year.

The most distinctive item in the well raked stadium style auditorium was the screen, which appeared to float in front of the rear wall. There were no screen curtains and masking wrapped around the edges from behind.

In 1975, it became the ‘permanent home’ of Walt Disney films – actually this lasted five years before the Odeon returned to normal programming. Screen curtains were added in front of the ‘floating screen’ at this period of time.

Rank then made an attempt to turn it into an art house and it was renamed the Lane Cinema. But less than a year later it closed, only to be taken over by Artificial Eye who renamed it the Lumiere Cinema and who had considerably more success than Rank with art house films.

It closed on 7th June 1997 when the upstairs office block was extensively altered to become a hotel — the auditorium however was included in the scheme as a cinema and conference hall.

However, it never reopened although a full refurbishment was apparently carried out a few years ago. In 2006 it was converted into a Gymbox gymnasium and fitness centre.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

keiths
keiths on December 9, 2005 at 2:06 am

Does anybody know whether the auditorium is actually in use as a coference venue?

paul34
paul34 on January 6, 2006 at 6:00 am

I work across the road, have never seen the doors open ?
The light box is there ! but never turned on ?
Will let you know if it ever opens.

johnh
johnh on January 13, 2006 at 3:38 am

The doors opened on the 7th Jan and are still open! Unfortunately to allow access to builders who will be converting it into a gym.I walk past every day.

Ian
Ian on July 1, 2006 at 12:05 pm

Work is still continuing to turn the former cinema into a gym for the St Martins Hotel. Pictures from June 2006 here (external):–

View link

and here (foyer):–

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Ian
Ian on August 12, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Finally a scanned photo of the cinema when open (as the Lumiere) here :–

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woody
woody on March 22, 2007 at 1:35 am

nightime shot of the building march 2007 as GYMBOX

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AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on January 12, 2008 at 8:40 am

I saw many of the Disney presentations here and the the front of the cinema looked great all dressed up with the Disney logo and castle etc. I didn’t realize it was a home to Disney for as long as 5 years. It was a great place to see any movie, as was stated above, the rake and screen were perfect. I saw my first movie in a cinema with ‘subtiles’ at the Lumiere- ‘ThE Big Blue’. London lost a great cinema when this closed. Another being the Odeon Haymarket- what were they thinking?

scott99
scott99 on October 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I rememeber seeing Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams in the late eigties. The inside of the Lumiere felt like it had been designed by Habitat, there was a cool and classy feel about the place. It was probably THE place to see arthouse movies at the time. Shame to lose it. Like the Odeon Haymarket and the Curzon Soho, these 600-700 seat cinemas couldn’t make it in modern London.

woody
woody on February 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

press ad from august 1982 when the cinema was in its short lived The Lane guise
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/5448307814/

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