Odeon Covent Garden

135 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, WC2H 8AH

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CF100 on February 14, 2018 at 5:32 am

Jasonmullen: Thank you for the heads up—the main planning application.

There is a separate listed building application, in which a Historic England response advises that the additional roof levels could harm the “cubist” aspect of the building’s original external design, but the benefits of the scheme could outweigh this loss. They have authorised Camden Council to “decide as [they] see fit” with the application.

Some excerpts from the “Construction Method Statement and Basement Impact Statement”:

-Original building: “Steel frame with a masonry façade.”

–“Two storey basement formed with large reinforced concrete retaining walls.”

-1970s: Conversion to two screen cinema and partial conversion to offices, with “a completely remodelled auditorium.”

-2000s: “Extensive remodelling” to form four screens.

–“The new cinema layout constructed in the 1970s is predominately a steel frame, and […] has almost entirely replaced any of the original structure inside the retained façade.”

–“[Proposals are to remove] all of the internal structure of the existing building, leaving the façade and retaining wall to the existing two storey basement.”

–“The [proposed] superstructure [is] a traditional RC frame…”

–“The existing façade in the front atrium will be supported by new steel columns in the assumed location of the existing steel frame.”

Just in case anyone reading this (if anyone is still reading this post!) wondered how the proposed works are to proceed without walls tumbling over, details and drawings are provided on pp276-280 (!) of the PDF.

Onto a summary of some aspects of the proposed cinema.

The two largest auditoria are on the North West side of the building, with the screens positioned adjacent to Shaftesbury Avenue and New Compton Street. Alas, this means that the auditoria are not quite symmetrical. Both auditoria are about 100sq.m. in size, and the largest screen is, as marked on the drawings, according to my estimates, almost 40ft. wide, with the other a little smaller.

The first row in the largest auditoria is only ~0.25 screen widths away—too close!—but the screens are generously sized.

The two smaller auditoria are about 50sq.m. in size, and the screens I estimate to be about 20ft. wide.

Seating looks to be generously sized with ample legroom.

FWIW, “The Need for Renewal” document says “it would cost approximately £26 million to refurbish the building to a modern standard where it could continue to be let to a cinema operator.” It is certainly in a state of disrepair!

There is therefore plenty of potential for high quality modern auditoria, but that might be of little comfort given that this is essentially a façade retention scheme, and ~40ft. wide “immersive” screens are, perhaps, not suggestive of “art house” programming.

philgyford on February 9, 2018 at 2:48 am

I think there was a brief period after Odeon took it over in 2000 when it was known as “Odeon Shaftesbury Avenue”, before it became “Odeon Covent Garden”: I have a ticket for ‘Hamlet’ from 29/12/2000 with “Odeon Shaftesbury” printed as the name.

Ian on February 4, 2018 at 1:51 am

Night shot of the Odeon Covent Garden facade – January 2018 – here:–


philgyford on January 31, 2018 at 3:38 am

Just because I was trying to find the date of “the ABC management buy-out which brought back the ABC name again”, it was around May 1996.

Zappomatic on January 25, 2018 at 6:31 am

The condition report is an interesting read – love the photo of the abandoned bar area looking very 1960s/70s!

SethLewis on January 20, 2018 at 10:26 am

Just what we don’t need is 4 tiny cinemas that don’t really add to the programming although if the Curzon goes I may eat my words… Give us more genuine arthouse / repertory screens that keep people interested in movies not screens that just add capacity!

Jasonmullen on January 20, 2018 at 6:56 am

Plans currently submitted to covert it into a Hotel. Four tiny Cinemas in basement with a two story roof addition. See camden council planning website for details.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm

A set of vintage photographs of the ABC Shaftesbury Avenues here:
View link

Ian on August 11, 2007 at 11:40 am

A better view of the original shot on this listing here:–

View link

jasonfmullen on May 30, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Great loss as a Theatre. But as previously stated there is the Beatle connection and for those interested the stage can be seen in use with the fab four on it including house Tabs if you watch the Beatles “Hello GoodBye” video on the anthology set.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 29, 2004 at 3:07 am

While Mr Leslie Scott Slaughter may have worked on the design of the Saville Theatre, official records show that the consulting architect was Bertie Crewe, the builders were Messers Gee, Walker and Slater and it was designed by architects T. P. Bennett & Son.

It opened as the Saville Theatre on 8th October 1931 with 1,426 seats. It closed in 1970 and was converted into a twin screen cinema (architects William Ryder & Associates). It is a Listed Grade II building for its facade which features a sculptured relief frieze by Gilbert Bayes representing ‘Drama Through the Ages’. Nothing remains internally of the original features of this art deco building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 26, 2004 at 2:51 pm

The Odeon is not renovating, it is open as a 4 screen cinema.

Dominic on December 5, 2003 at 4:22 pm

The Saville’s architect was Leslie Scott Slaughter (1898 – 1938). He was an Associate Member of the British Institute of Architects, and worked with Sir Geoffrey Jellico and TP Bennett. He was my grandfather.

Dominic on December 5, 2003 at 4:15 pm

Not a success? The Saville Theatre was leased by Brian Epstein in the 60s and is where the Fab Four filmed the videos of Hallo Goodbye.

Jimmi Hendrix, Fats Domino, The Bee Gees, The Who, Pink Floyd, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Elton John, The Beatles, Chuck Berry….. have all played at the Saville. As have Sir Harry Secombe and Leonard Rossiter…

Ian on December 20, 2001 at 5:34 am

When it was converted from the Saville the auditorium was virtually gutted to form two cinemas and the same has happened in 2001 when the entire space has been redesigned to form four screens. Now called the Odeon Covent Garden – though this is confusing as the site is not in Covent Garden!