Oxford Village Cartoon Cinema
150 Oxford Street,
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Originally on this site was the Princess’s Theatre, which opened on 6th November 1880 with Edwin Booth in "Hamlet". This was the second Princess’s Theatre to be built on the site and it was designed by noted theatre architect C.J. Phipps with a capacity for 1,750. It was closed in October 1902 due to licencing requirements. The theatre was purchased by American theatre owner Benjamin F. Keith, and he planned to convert into a music hall, but due to costly alterations that would have to be carried out, the plans stalled. It remained empty until 1905, when the foyer was converted into retail use as a furriers and the auditorium was used for furniture storage.
The Princess’s Theatre was demolished in June 1931, and an Art Deco style Woolworth’s store was built on the site, designed by architects Elcock & Sutcliffe in a Wallace Gilbert manner. By the late-1970’s Woolworths had vacated the building, and it was converted into a shopping arcade named Oxford Village.
In around 1980, part of the first floor upstairs was converted into a small cartoon cinema by the Brent Walker Group of cinema exhibitors. The non-stop shows were operated daily during shop opening hours and projection was via videotape, rather than 35mm film. It was short lived venture that closed around the end of 1982.
The space where the auditorium stood, was still vacant and unused in early-1984, with its street entrance occupied by Encyclopedia Britannica as a display area. Later in the 1980’s, the entire building was gutted to be made into the massive HMV music/DVD megastore which closed in 2013. The store was taken over by Sports Direct.
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