Odeon Islington

7 Islington High Street,
London, N1 9LQ

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Gaumont-British-Picture Corp., Ltd., Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: H. Courtenay Constantine

Functions: Café

Styles: Baroque, Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Angel Picture Theatre, Angel Cinema

Nearby Theaters

Odeon Islington

Located in the north London inner-city district of Islington. The Angel Picture Theatre opened on 19th March 1913. It was built by Abraham Davis, his brother Ralph Davis, & Mayor of Islington Henry Mills. Preliminary plans were dawn up by architect Harry Harrington in 1911, but detailed designs were the work of architect H. Courtenay Constantine, with W.G.C. Hawtayne as consulting engineer. It had two separate entrances, the one on Islington High Street served the balcony patrons and was dominated by a highly decorated 100ft tall Baroque style tower which became a landmark at what is known as Angel corner. Original architects drawings show a statue in a niche on the first floor of the tower, but it was possibly never realised. Inside this entrance the foyer was decorated with a splendid chandelier, stained glass windows and deep-pile carpet. The other entrance in White Lion Street served the stalls seating area where patrons entered from behind the screen. The auditorium was set at right-angles to the High Street behind shops. It had a barrel-vaulted ceiling containing plaster panels which was supported on each side by a row of decorated arched pillars.

The cinema had its own orchestra and was equipped with a Hill, Norman & Beard ‘straight’ organ that had 2 Manuals which was later replaced by a Christie theatre organ.

The cinema was acquired by Associated Provincial Picture Houses (APPH) in 1926. In February 1929 APPH were taken over by Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT) who were a subsidiary of the Gaumont British Cinemas chain and its name was shortened to Angel Cinema. With the eventual merger of Gaumont and Odeon cinema chains to become the Rank Organisation, the cinema was re-named Odeon from 1st September 1963.

It was closed on 18th March 1972 with Derren Nesbitt in “Burke and Hare' and Clint Walker in "More Dead Than Alive”. The building remained closed up and unused until 1974 when the auditorium was demolished and offices built on the site.

The former balcony entrance and tower feature was retained and bricked up for 25 years until it was re-furbished and is now in use as a Starbucks coffee house. This part of the former Angel Picture Theatre has been designated a Grade II Listed building from 31st January 1991.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 24, 2006 at 6:43 am

A photograph of the balcony entrance in April 1971. Shame about the photographer cutting off the top section of the tower:
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kevinp on September 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm

some more pix here : check out the Al Jolson billboard remnants !

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2010 at 5:38 am

The July 5, 1913,issue of the trade journal The Moving Picture World ran an article, the first few paragraphs of which dealt with the Angel Theatre. It is available online here, at Google Books.

Woody_London on January 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm

one of three cinema buildings threatened with demolition for Crossrail 2, along with Curzon Soho and Vue Wood Green

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