Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

45 Queen Caroline Street,
London, W6 9QH

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Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the west London inner-city suburb of Hammersmith. This is one of the UK’s largest and best-preserved super cinemas. Designed by architect Robert Cromie for a joint collaboration between exhibitor Israel Davis and the Gaumont British Theatres chain (in 1928 he designed the magnificent Davis Theatre, Croydon for Israel Davis). The Gaumont Palace opened on 28th March 1932 with 3,487 seats, the opening programme was Tom Walls in “A Night Like This” and Helen Twelvetrees in “Bad Company”. It was equipped with a large stage that is 35 feet deep, which has proved to be the buildings reason for survival. The proscenium is 63 feet wide and there are twenty dressing rooms. The Gaumont Palace is also equipped with a Compton 4Manual/15Ranks theatre organ. There was also a cafe/restaurant located on the balcony foyer area.

The enormous width (192 feet) of the site allowed Cromie to provide an excellent fan shaped auditorium which for its size is remarkably intimate. The rear of the circle is 170 feet wide and the circle only overhangs the stalls by 10-12 rows providing excellent sightlines from all parts of the house.

The Art Deco style decoration in such a large auditorium is slightly underpowered but nevertheless this is an outstanding, nearly unaltered, example of cinema architecture and is Robert Cromie’s finest surviving cinema.

It now seats 3,419 with standing room for 302 more. It is well used for concerts, opera, ballet and musicals. (“Riverdance” had a two-year run here).

The building was renamed Odeon in 1962 and it screened its last regular film as a full-time cinema on 8th August 1984, Roy Scheider in “Blue Thunder”. Live shows/concerts became the main programme content, with occasional films slotted in to fill empty dates, such as in 1988, when “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Imagine” were a couple of examples. It became the Apollo in 1992. It is available for sponsorship and the name gets the sponsor prefixing the Apollo (e.g. Labatt’s Apollo or Carling Apollo) in recent years.

By 2005 it was operated by Clear Channel, they were encouraged by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Cinema Theatre Association to reinstate the original Compton organ console which had been removed from the building and put into storage in the 1990’s. The organ chambers were retained in the building and now with it’s console connected up again it is now playable. From June 2007, the theatre was operated by the MAMA Group. In December 2009, the theatre was equipped with 2K digital projectors and a collapsible screen. It was taken over by HMV, and in 2012 was taken over by the German/American company Stage C, who purchased the building for £32 million.

In June 2013 the theatre was closed to enable a complete 5 million Pounds renovation and restoration to the plans of architectural firm Foster Wilson, bringing the building back to its original 1932 condition. The work restored the original foyer floor mosaic panels, long covered by carpet. Black paint was removed from the Art Deco style windows so that light can once again flood the circle bar and foyer. The theatre’s interior was repainted in the original colour scheme of green, mauve and black. There are new bars, and seats in the stalls and seats in the circle have been raised and reupholstered to improve comfort and legroom. Two marble staircases concealed beneath the extended stage for many years have been uncovered. It re-opened on 7th September 2013 with a concert by Selena Gomez and is re-named Eventim Apollo as it is now owned by AEG Live and German ticket vending company CTS Eventim.

The Hammersmith Apollo was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage in 1990. This was upgraded to a Grade II* Listed building status in 2005.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

andygarner on June 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

Re the film projectors:

The original 35mm system was removed some years ago and the digital system described in a previous post is now in place. One of the the last films to be shown in 35mm was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit ” in 1988…..was it really that long ago?

DavidZornig on May 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm

David Gray’s “Life In Slow Motion” tour played the Hammersmith in 2006. Just happened to catch the venue’s name on his “Hospital Food” live performance on YouTube. Not much of the Hammersmith, other than darkly lit stage shots.

CSWalczak on May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Most recently owned by HMV; sold in 2012 to an American-German firm called Stage C: View article

Jasonmullen on June 1, 2012 at 7:02 am

Back in 1932 no one could have imagined it would one day change hands for £32 Million

glyn_lewis on February 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

The exterior impersonates the deluxe supercinema in “The Smallest Show on Earth”, the interiors being filmed atthe Odeon Richmond.

70mmbobbyj on July 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Up loaded a couple of photos from the interweb, I must say looking good. you can get a better view from google street view.

HowardBHaas on July 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thanks to Ken Roe for finding this July 24 Evening Standard article about the current restoration. Have placed details in the Introduction above but more photos here. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/liftoff-for-hammersmith-apollos-art-deco-restoration-mission-8729487.html

HowardBHaas on September 10, 2013 at 5:37 am

Restoration done, photos here Prepare to have your socks knocked off! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2414149/Hammersmith-Apollo-opens-doors-5million-refit-restored-art-deco-designs.html

theonlysbf on January 21, 2014 at 5:35 am

I worked here in the early 1980’s not a good time for a cinema they had 2 clapped out Vic 10s with knackered gearboxes that leaked oil as fast as you could fill them, carbon arc and mercury rectifiers out in a shed on the roof it was like running a cinema with equipment from the arc. The rake on the projectors had them almost standing on their lens, the portholes were about a foot from the floor making change overs a nightmare. All capped off with the most rude crass useless chief I had ever worked for and a senior that (really) could not tie his own shoes (brother in law). They were only interested in the live shows.

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