Odeon Kensington, London

W.F. Granger, Julian Rudolph Leathart
Date Built
Opened January 3, 1926
263 High Street, London, W8 6NA
The Odeon  cinema on Kensington High Street used to be a centre of entertainment for local residents but in recent times it has become a centre of controversy for the community.  The building opened in 1926 as the Kensington Kinema.  It had a single auditorium accommodating 2,370 customers on two levels.  Apparently it was one of the first steel framed buildings to be built in the UK.  It features a neo-classical facade.  The Cinema Treasures website adds that it has, "... a huge deeply recessed entrance, remeniscent of a proscenium opening. The interior was decorated in what could be described as Neo-Greek style which had a coffered ceiling."  It also had a Christie Three-Manual theatre organ.

The first name change occured in 1940 when it became the Majestic Cinema.  Four years late Odeon Theatres Limited purchased it and it reopened in October of 1944 as the Odeon.  As with most of these large cinemas, the Odeon was split into a number of screen.  It became a triple in 1976 and a fourth screen was added in 1980.  By 1991 it had six film studios.  After all of this redesign it should come as no surprise that little of the original auditorium remains.

In 2005 speculation was that it would be demlished to make was for a Tesco supermarket but in fact it survived a further 10 years.  In 2016, as you can see below, the cinema is hidden behind hoardings and work is underway to incorporate it into a new mixed-use development.  Planning permission has been granted, despite conserted local opposition, for the proposed redevelopment that wil provide a 100,000sq ft. high-end residential led scheme comprising 35 apartments and 5 town houses with a new cinema in the basement.  The facade of the cinema will remain.

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