Ionic Picture Theatre

614 Finchley Road,
London, NW11

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Additional Info

Architects: Major William James King

Styles: Romanesque Revival

Previous Names: Golders Hill Picture Palace, Louis Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ionic Exterior

Located in the northwest London district of Golders Green. The Golders Hill Picture Palace was opened in April 1913 and the opening ceremony was attended by famed ballerina Anna Pavlova. It was one of the first cinemas to be designed by Major W.J. King. The facade had the look of an ancient temple, with four stone columns supporting a pediment on top. There was a central recess over the entrance. Inside the auditorium, there was a barrel ceiling and a horse-shoe shaped balcony, which had a series of eight private boxes along the walls on each side.

Initially operated by the Golders Hill Picture Palace Company Ltd., it soon changed operators and was briefly re-named Louis Theatre. It was soon re-named Ionic Picture Theatre.

In later years the Ionic Picture Theatre was playing independent releases and second run programmes. It was closed on 20th August 1972 with Paul Newman in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".

The old Ionic Picture Theatre was demolished in early-1975, and the site was purchased by Sainsbury’s, to build a new supermarket. Permission to build a supermarket was given on the proviso, that a new cinema would be incorporated into the new building’s design. This opened as the 652 seat, New Ionic Cinema on 25th August 1975 and was designed by George Coles and Company. Later becoming the ABC Ionic, it has been closed since 1999, and sits vacant in 2008. It has its own page on Cinema Treasures.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm

The Ionic Picture Theatre can be seen on the right of this vintage photograph from the 1920’s:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm

A vintage photograph of the auditorium, viewed from the circle in the 1960’s:
View link

Shamus Dark
Shamus Dark on July 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

Thanks to Kenroe for posting the pictures. Unfortunately, the view from the street obviously wasn’t taken with the Ionic specifically in mind, although you can just about see the building. I wonder if there are any other photos – perhaps from the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s? I’m not holding my breath, but maybe some will eventually appear.

ArtDirector on February 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

This cinema was cosy and harked back to the days of silent cinema as it had side boxes which were seldom, if ever occupied. Despite its small screen it was a very pleasant venue in which to see the movies. Efforts to ‘list it’ were too late to save it. It made a positive contribution to the street-scape that the later supermarket failed to achieve.

MappMan on June 15, 2020 at 6:53 am

The exterior of the original Ionic can be seen in “Offbeat” (1960) when a Scotland Yard detective walks past a poster advertising the comedy crime film “Law and disorder” (1958)

ArtDirector on January 31, 2024 at 12:58 am

This cinema was unusual as the projection room was at the rear of the stalls. In later years the open arcade was glazed-in to enlarge the foyer area. The circle boxes were never occupied to my knowledge.

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