Odeon West End

40 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7LP

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CF100 on September 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm

It turns out that there was a further planning application to Westminster Council in 2016, with amendments to the previous scheme.

Believe it or not, one of these is the “chopping off” of the NW corner of the building, as during enabling works, a UK Power Networks tunnel was “discovered”! (Underneath Leicester Square is a primary substation.)

Floor level numbers have been altered, and the cinema is now primarily on Levels B3 and B4, with the alterations outlined with cross-section plans and 3D visualisations in the Design & Access Statement Part 1.

The cinema aspect of the scheme has been changed, with the gross area reduced by over 2,000sq.ft., now being approx. 20,700sq.ft.

Screen 2 is rotated by 90 deg anti-clockwise. I’m not clear from the cross-sections on whether this involves a reduction in the auditorium’s height, but the basement foyer area is now under Screen 2, instead of being underneath the stepped seating structures of both Screens 1 and 2.

Screen 1 is in about the same location but its layout seems to have been slightly improved; however, being in the NW corner of the building, the auditorium is also slightly sliced off to the right of the screen (which is positioned on the West side of the building, facing East.)

Measuring the screen width on the drawing (fortunately a scale is included), it is about 50ft. wide, with the distance to the last row being about 70ft. or so, i.e. 1.4 screen widths away, which matches another Odeon iSense auditorium.

Permission for the above application has been granted, and I notice that the planning condition (number 6) to have the cinema ready and handed over for fit-out before the hotel opens is still there.

There is another application providing details of public art proposals in relation to a condition of planning permission.

The proposals, which have been approved by Westminster Council, are not for anything that one might reasonably have expected as “public art,” but rather cover proposed facade details and finishes, with lots of drawings, renderings and photos in the document titled “PUBLICARTSCHEME_PART1_LOWRES.”

Bureaucracy aside, I don’t object to the idea of the facade being informed by a schooled artist as having value, and this makes the application of far more relevance here; I see the proposals include faience tiles.

CF100 on August 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Video of building under construction

Ceremony speech prior to placement of a time capsule

At 4 min 20 sec: “…which will include… an underground cinema complex, adding to the cinematic legacy that the area is so famous for.”

CF100 on February 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Hello cinemasimon—I’m assuming you the person who posted an incredible number of pictures of the OWE ‘behind the scenes’ on Flickr?!

A ridiculously obsessive project—I love it. :–)

Albeit the fact that the original ceiling of the Leicester Square Theatre wasn’t removed and was crumbling away, down onto the top of the 1960s auditorium false ceiling, was rather worrying!

I’m confused—why would the council be responsible plans for the basement screens?

cinemasimon on November 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Hi All, I worked here between 2005 and 2009 as the senior projectionist with Steve Larcombe. I had some of the messiest, craziest, happiest and saddest memories of my professional career at this cinema. I now live in Perth, Australia but returned back in November 2015 to OWE to see the remains being pulled down. It was truly saddening what has happened. In 2006 we were given plans by the council for their vision of what the new Odeon basement would look like and we laughed at them. I still have my master key set though for the entire building! I’ll always have that and the 4000 pictures I took of the building when I was there.

CF100 on September 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Little visible progress on the replacement building, but the newsletter posted on the perimeter hoarding states that the piling is due to be finished on the 8th July.

CF100 on February 3, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Lots of demolition photos at the Arthur Lloyd site, including the auditorium block.

CF100 on January 27, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Photo of the current site state uploaded.

December 2015 newsletter posted on the hoarding says that the entire site has now been cleared and pre-piling works are complete.

Basement cinemas or not, the sooner this gaping hole in Leicester Square is plugged the better! With the adjacent 48 Leicester Square rebuild (facade retained) well progressed, the South West corner of the square is presently one big building site.

Piet_Morant on September 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Such a beautiful theatre. I only ever went here once to see ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’ in December ‘94 with my mother (I was still at school). Good times.

CF100 on January 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm

The 400 seater at least has the potential to be a decent “large format”-style screen and (presumably?) is needed for moveovers from the OLS. The cinemas (once opened) could be repurposed as conference spaces, but then again, they can always be hired out as such anyway…

goodshow on January 18, 2015 at 9:51 am

Photograph attached 18 Jan 2015. Opening of the ‘new-style’ Leic.Sq.Theatre 12.12.1968 From my personal collection.

Ambak on January 17, 2015 at 5:23 am

Call me an old cynic, but I too would be amazed if the cinemas ever open. Within the next couple of years the developer will give Odeon a large (secret) backhander to pull out. Odeon will say that they have decided that the cinemas would be uneconomic and the developers will then claim that no other operator is interested and use the space for something else. I will be delighted to be proved wrong, but as the cinemas are only going to be a couple of poky basement spaces, no doubt outfitted in today’s basic format with a bare unmasked screen on one wall, I don’t think we will be missing much.

Ian on January 4, 2015 at 3:03 am

A night time photo taken during the last weeks of operation here:–


CF100 on December 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Looking through the “Decision Notice” in the previously linked planning documents, Condition 6 of the Planning Permission states that “the hotel use… must not begin until the cinema has been provided with services and made ready for fit out by the relevant tenant and evidence has been submitted to and approved by the Council…”

I have fond memories of seeing movies in Screen 2. But let’s be fair, the cinema—with its asbestos and crumbling-ceiling laden void areas—not to mention the rest of the block—is long overdue for an overhaul.

In my view, however, this scheme is a missed opportunity, as the two screens are almost the minimum option, being tucked away in less than one half of Basement Level 2. If only slightly more space had been allocated! Granted, services and structural considerations may render that impossible.

One might anticipate that Odeon will install a 50ft. wide screen in the larger auditorium and brand it an “iSense” screen…

curmudgeon on December 16, 2014 at 10:01 am

Disgraceful! More history gone. Bet the proposed basement cinemas never eventuate.

FanaticalAboutOdeon on December 16, 2014 at 4:10 am

Odeon West End is due to close in January to be demolished.

CF100 on August 7, 2014 at 6:32 am

Details of the planning permission are up on Westminster Council’s site via the above linked page. More than £5m of contributions, for Crossrail, “public realm,” affordable housing, etc. are required per the S106 agreement!

CF100 on February 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm

The planning permission news has again triggered a spate of articles where the headline declares that the “Leicester Square Odeon” will be demolished to make way for a hotel!

madorganplayer on September 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

The Wurlitzer was of course a 2/10 and on perusing the photos on Flickr it appears that the organ chamber shutters are still in place.Very odd when the organ is up and playing at Cotton in Suffolk.

CF100 on August 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm

A new planning application, for the redevelopment of the entire block, has been submitted:

Westminster Council Planning Application Documents

The proposed replacement cinema still has 2 screens, now with 407 and 139 seats. (Plans are given in the above documents in “Proposed Level B2” and “B2 Mezzanine.”)

Exterior views of both the previous and the (in my opinion better looking) new proposal are in the document titled “130729 FINAL SCI – ODEON.” (e.g. p19, p21.)

FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

The 1968 modernisation did not actually remove the French Renaissance style decor but “inserted” a modern auditorium into the original shell. The balcony was indeed removed and the new proscenium was situated on the old stage. This situation remains with the “new” cinema simply twinned. Much original decor can still be seen in “mirth and mayhem’s” photostream on Flickr.

Ian on December 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

Still operating at the end of 2012 :–


egcarter on November 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Showing THE MASTER in 70mm (commenced November 2, 2012)

Paul Stephenson
Paul Stephenson on October 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

70mm returns to the Odeon West End on Friday, as Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master plays exclusively between 2nd November and 15th November 2012. It opens in the 814 seat screen 2 – the former stalls. According to the Odeon web site it is the only cinema in the UK to be screening it in 70mm.