419-427 Holloway Road,
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Originally intended to be a sister theater to the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, London (England’s largest purpose built cinema with 4,004 seats), the 3,006 seat Holloway Gaumont was again like Kilburn a promotion of Hyams & Gale who sold out to Gaumont British Theatres as the building was being completed. The Gaumont Theatre opened on 5th September 1938 with Dorothy Lamour in “The Hurricane”.
It was designed by noted American theatre architect C. Howard Crane, who had come to London from his Detroit, Ohio base during the Depression, during which time he also designed the Granada Theatre, Greenwich in south London, and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in the west London suburb of that name (both in 1937). The Gaumont Theatre has a massive street frontage corner facade, and originally had a 220 seat restaurant (with out-door terrace seating on the Holloway Road side) and a broadcasting studio in the top of the square tower. The foyer and auditorium were in a French Renaissance style, similar to Gaumont State, Kilburn. The Gaumont was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3Manual/12Rank theatre organ.
The beautiful auditorium was destroyed by a V1 Rocket bomb on 8th November 1944, although the main walls survived as did the foyer. It wasn’t until post war building regulations were lifted that reconstruction could take place and a new auditorium in sleek modern lines (architects T.P. Bennett & Sons) graced the Gaumont when it re-opened on 21st July 1958 with Clark Gable in “Run Silent, Run Deep”.
It was re-named Odeon in November 1962 and triple screened in 1973. Since then it has been further sub-divided into eight screens, with only the outer walls and the foyer remaining in anything like their original 1938 condition. Seating capacities in the auditoriums in 2008 are; 330, 315, 72, 239, 191, 253, 94 and 105. It remains in operation as a successful first-run general release theater in this district of North London.
To celebrate the theater’s 65th anniverary in 2003, a new metal flag-pole was erected on top of the tower, replacing the original, by now rotting wooden one. A new Odeon corporate flag was especially made to fly on the mast. In November 2010, the Odeon Holloway became the first of the Odeon cinemas to be equipped as an all digital theatre in all its auditoriums.
The facade and the foyer are Grade II Listed parts of the building.
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