Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The King's Cross Cinema, 275 - 277 Pentonville Road, King's Cross, London

Later - Gaumont Cinema / Odeon Cinema / Primatarium / Scala Cinema / Scala Nightclub

See also in this area: The Euston Palace of Varieties

The Scala Nightclub, King's Cross in July 2004, formerly the King's Cross Cinema - Photo M.L.

Above - The Scala Nightclub, King's Cross in July 2004, formerly the King's Cross Cinema - Photo M.L.

An early image of the King's Cross Cinema - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural review of 1921.The imposing corner building on the Pentonville Road in King's Cross, London, which most people know today as the Scala Nightclub and Concert Venue originally opened as the King's Cross Cinema on the 26th of April 1920.

The Cinema was designed by the Architect H. Courtenay Constantine with an auditorium capable of seating some 1,300 people.

Right - An early image of the King's Cross Cinema - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural review of 1921.

Building work had actually begun some years earlier than its eventual 1920 opening, but the outbreak of war in 1914 stopped the construction, and the building was instead used as a factory to help the war effort, making aeroplane parts, and then later, at the end of the war in 1918, as a demob centre, before it was finally completed and opened as the King's Cross Cinema in April 1920.

War was again to blight this building when it was damaged by German bombs during the second world war. Although the Theatre remained open even after the bombing it was eventually closed on the 8th of May 1949 for repairs to the bomb damage.

The Auditorium and Stage of the King's Cross Cinema - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural review of 1921.

The Auditorium of the King's Cross Cinema - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural review of 1921.

Above - The original 1920 Auditorium and Stage of the King's Cross Cinema - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural review of 1921. The Caption for this image reads: 'King's Cross Cinema. H. Courtenay Constantine, Architect. Builders And Contractors: Central London Building Co., 116, Judd Street, W.C.1. Heating And Ventilation: G. N. Haden & Sons, Ltd., Lincoln House, Kingsway, W.C. 2. Furnishing, Seating And Carpets: H. Lazarus & Son, 21 Great Eastern Street, E.C.2.'

The Theatre was substantially altered in the early 1950s by the architects T. P. Bennett & Son and it subsequently reopened on the 17th of March 1952 under the new name of the Gaumont Cinema. T. P. Bennett & Son had also been responsible for the design of the Saville Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue which had opened in 1931.

In November 1962 the Cinema was renamed Odeon under the ownership of the Rank Organisation. Rank then closed the Cinema on the 22nd of August 1970. The last film to be shown in the Cinema in its guise as an Odeon was the 1970 Film 'Airport.'

The Scala, King's Cross in July 2004 - Photo M.L.

Above - The Scala, King's Cross in July 2004 - Photo ML

The building was then taken over by an independent operator and renamed the King's Cross Cinema again, which ran until 1975, after which it was closed and converted into a so called 'Primatarium' which involved converting the stalls into a forest and displaying live primates, but this venture was not successful and it was soon closed.

In 1980 the building was altered by the Scala Cinema club, who had lost their previous home to Channel Four Television, this was the former Scala Cinema on Charlotte Street, which was situated in the basement of Scala House, itself constructed on the site of the former Scala Theatre in 1969. The Scala Cinema Club then converted the Circle of the old King's Cross Cinema into a small 350 seat cinema and opened it as the Scala Cinema in July 1981. Ironically, considering its earlier use as a 'Primatarium', its first film showing was the 1933 classic 'King Kong.' In its guise as an art house Cinema the Scala became something of a success but it was to lose its licence in 1993 when it lost a court case after an illegal screening of the then banned film 'A Clockwork Orange.'

A Google StreetView Image of the Scala, King's Cross, formerly the King's Cross Theatre, whilst undergoing refurbishment - Click to Interact.In March 1999 the building was reopened as The Scala after major transformation works which included adding two extra floors and converting it into a Nightclub and Live Concert Venue with three bars, two dance floors and a stage for live performances.

Right - A Google StreetView Image of the Scala, King's Cross, formerly the King's Cross Theatre, whilst undergoing refurbishment - Click to Interact.

The building, which has recently been renovated again, is today listed as The Scala, a Multi Purpose Venue and Nightclub on four floors.

You may like to visit the Scala's own website here.

Other Pages that may be of Interest