ABC Piccadilly Circus
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Architects: Cecil Aubrey Masey
Previous Names: Monseigneur News Theatre, Jacey, Centa, Cinecenta 1-2, Cannon, MGM
The first of London’s Monseigneur News Theatre’s opened on 1st November 1934 in the former Monseigneur Restaurant on Piccadilly. It was a basement space and in the conversion most of the decorative features of the restaurant were retained. Part of the old restaurant balcony was converted into the projection booth while another part became a cafe area from where you could still view the screen while ‘taking tea’. Seating was provided for 284.
It was taken over by the Jacey Cinemas circuit in June 1960 and re-named Jacey Cinema and like many in this chain began to screen ‘adult’ sexploitation movies, opening here with “London in the Raw” in July 1964.
This policy continued for many years even when the Cinecenta group took over in May 1972 and they twinned the cinema (divided straight down the middle) in 1979, re-opening it with the 3D “What the Swedish Butler Saw” and “Blue Fantasies” in the 118 seat screen 1 and “Zombie Flesh Eaters” and “The Tool Box Murders” in the 124 seat screen 2.
It was taken over by the Cannon chain and re-named Cannon Piccadilly, then MGM and lastly ABC, playing independent art house films usually those with a violent or sexual content. When Odeon Theatres took over ABC Cinemas in 2001 the Piccadilly became surplus to their requirements and it was closed on 8th July 2001 screening “Lagaan” a three-hour-plus Bollywood epic and “When Love Comes”, a film from New Zealand.
Plans were put forward in 2005 to convert the building into a nightclub, which opened as the Pigalle in early-2007.
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