45 Queen Caroline Street,
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Located in the west London inner-city suburb of Hammersmith. The Gaumont Palace, Hammersmith, is one of the UK’s largest and best-preserved super cinemas. Designed by 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). 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 was 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 on 8th August 1984, Roy Scheider in “Blue Thunder”. 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.
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.
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