Odeon Holloway

419-427 Holloway Road,
London, N7 6LJ

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Gaumont Cinema Holloway

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.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on December 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm

I apologize for invading the Odeon, Holloway, spaces BUT would dearly love to see any photos of the auditorium (original or restoration) of my much missed ODEON in SOUTHAMPTON.

My thanks to Kev Phelan (Aug 16) for the above link to the historic exterior shots of the (now destroyed) cinema I patronized so often!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 12, 2009 at 6:08 pm

A set of vintage photographs of the Gaumont, now Odeon Holloway:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 30, 2010 at 7:13 am

Vintage photographs of the Gaumont, and its Wurlitzer organ console:
http://www.ukwurlitzer.co.cc/2228.html

Wurlitzer420
Wurlitzer420 on December 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm

this Wurlitzer had a Tibia Plena rank instead of the normal Tibia Clausa.The only Wurlitzer in GB with a similair Tibia is the Wurlitzer in the Opera house Blackpool

madorganplayer
madorganplayer on January 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Actually the Wurlitzer had a rare Tibia Plena as well as a Tibia Clausa.Apparently the whole organ survived the bombing and was stored at the Odeon Shepherds Bush.But obviously by the late 1950`s they no longer wanted the bother of reinstalling the organ when the auditorium was rebuilt.The organ was then dispersed with some parts used on the Tower Blackpool Wurlitzer and the fire there.

PhilipWW
PhilipWW on January 3, 2019 at 9:42 am

Apparently Odeon have submitted plans to Islington council to refurbish the cinema.

Screen 3 will be abolished to make room for an enlarged foyer and the vacant shops on the side of the cinema will be redeveloped as restaurants linked to the cinema foyer.

The article below from the ‘Islington Tribune’ explains further. http://islingtontribune.com/article/restaurant-will-star-at-revamped-holloway-road-odeon

I do not know if the plans have been approved or when work will commence.

Presumable the cinema will be refurbished to ‘Odeon Luxe’ standards.

CF100
CF100 on July 26, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Main planning application.

See the link to “RELATED DOCUMENTS” at the bottom of the page.

The works are outlined in the “HERITAGE STATEMENT” document.

To summarise:

  • Removal of Auditorium 3, which had been “[inserted] into the first floor foyer tea room,” to “[reinstate] the dramatic original foyer volume,” with expectation that this will “reveal the original balustrade, ceiling and fenestration.”
  • Shops converted to restaurant, “linked to the foyer.”
  • New lift to first floor and “corridor to rear of the circle” for “wheelchair access.”
  • Auditoria 1-6 to have replacement floor “to a new rake” (replacing the existing floor built above the original.)

The document titled “Dwg OD-HW-145-PLN – Proposed Section” provides a good illustration of the new stepping and seating, clearly showing recliners in Auditorium 2 and 4—the plans show recliners in all auditoria.

According to the “HERITAGE STATEMENT” document, Odeon are planning on making this a “flagship” site, combining heritage aspects with the (non-listed) auditoria fully refurbished to current standards, clearly implying it will be a “LUXE”-branded site.

The application was approved.

CF100
CF100 on July 26, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Addendum: There is a further “listed building application” that should be referenced instead.

Most changes are relatively minor; some details of particular note:

  • A document titled “McFarlanelatter_Odeon_Holloway Road_Presentation_P” has been added, which includes some historic photos, and a cross-sectional drawing with the original finishes labelled as follows: Panels – rich cream; Frieze – blue (“picked out” in gold and silver); Columns – black bases, “picked out” in gold; balustrate – carved walnut. Decorative elements of the circle foyer/lounge are also described.
  • New foyer colours: Dulux 10YY 72/021 (Warm Beige); Dulux 62BB 08/369 (Blue); Dulux 30BB 05/022 (Black) gloss; “silver and gold decorative paint.” Cross-sectional drawings and a photo are labelled with the proposed colour scheme.

  • The document titled “HERITAGE STATEMENT” has been updated.

  • It states that the foyer/restaurant link has been removed.
  • 1958 suspended ceiling to be removed from auditorium, due to its “[poor] integrity in areas [accessible] above Screen 6,” “punctured in many places,” and Odeon’s desire to “remove any future risk from the condition of the ceiling.”
  • Removal of the ceiling enables Auditorium ½ to have the screen raised “so that [the] viewing angle from the new seating can meet Odeon’s/industry standards.”
  • Old skylight (covered over) above stage house to be removed, new flat roof.

Confusingly, whilst “REV B” of the “PROPOSED SECTION” shows a new (higher than existing) ceiling above Auditoria ½, labelled “NEW CEILING FIXED TO U/S TRUSSES,” and the old suspended ceiling removed—the “REV C” version of the “PROPOSED SECTION” shows the existing suspended ceiling, labelled “EXISTING CEILING RETAINED.”


(N.B. I have not summarised any proposed external changes, e.g. new signage.)


The document titled “Officer Report & Associated Documents Final Report,” dated 25th June 2019, recommends approval. The planning database states that this revised scheme has been approved, but no approval document is included at this time.

d8rren
d8rren on October 9, 2019 at 10:13 pm

the refurb has started the foyer is closed

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