59-61 New Broadway, Uxbridge Road,
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Located in the West London district of Ealing. The Forum Theatre was one of two near identical Forum Theatre’s which were built for Herbert Yapp in 1934 (the other is the Forum Theatre, Kentish Town in the north of London) and both were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) within a year of opening.
Designed by J. Stanley Beard & Clare both had almost identical facades dominated by eight tall columns with a double row of windows between the inner six. Each theatre seated 2,175 on two levels and each had a large stage with fully equipped fly tower.
The Ealing Forum Theatre was the first to open on 23 April 1934, and its interior has a spacious Classical style design with a wide 46 foot rectangular proscenium opening. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/9Ranks organ.
It was renamed ABC in 1961, and has undergone many name changes since then (Cannon, MGM, ABC, UGC, and Cineworld, Empire).
Under ABC control it closed in March 1975 for tripling, reopening 26th June 1975 with 764 seats in screen 1 (the former circle) and 417 seats and 210 seats in screens 2 and 3 (the divided stalls).
From December 2006 it came under the ownership of Empire Cinemas, UK. The seating capacities were: 1. 550, 2. 330 and 3. 170. It was a popular cinema in good condition, showing first run films. The Empire Cinema was closed on 6th September 2008. The auditorium and foyer areas were demolished in early-2009, and a new 16-screen multiplex cinema for Empire Cinemas is planned to be built behind the original facade. It is also planned that the original facade of the former Walpole Cinema, Ealing will be incorporated into the design of the new multiplex. By April 2012, work has not begun on the rebuild, and the original facade stands shored up supported by scaffold. Despite numerous proses by Empire Cinemas that construction would begin, nothing happened, and in October 2015, Ealing Council passed a Compulsorily Purchase Order on the site. Plans have been approved to build an 8-screen cinema, with building work commencing in late 2016 and a projected opening of the cinema in 2018. It is not known who will operate the cinema. The original façade will be retained as an entrance to the site which will also include 161 flats, shops and restaurants.
The Forum/ABC/Empire Cinema’s sister cinema, the Forum, Kentish Town, survives as a concert venue and is basically unaltered (Listed Grade II). Some original wooden doors from the Forum/ABC/Empire Ealing were saved, as were pieces of plasterwork. The doors will be installed in the Forum Kentish Town, replacing ones lost in that building over the years.
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