ABC Islington

161-169 Essex Road,
London, N1 2SN

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davidcoppock on January 3, 2020 at 8:25 am

The outside of this building was used in the tv series “Endeavour” in the episode “Cartouche” as the fictional Roxy Cinema, set in Oxford(the inside shots were filmed at the Broadway Theatre in Catford).

rebno167 on March 22, 2018 at 5:58 am

I am a new member…Very interested to see Davespring “Eight Piano Rhapsody”. My father, now long deceased, was the head projectionist at the theatre during the time it was filmed and recorded. My father was a friend of Phil Finch who regularly used to play the piano at the Carlton and in between breaks they used to play table tennis on the stage. My mother was the cashier.

I have an original 78rpm recording made at the Carlton made in 1934/5 of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on 8 piano ensemble. I have put it on YouTube (playing it on my lovely 78rpm machine…in my dressing gown!!)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

michaelbrent; The auditorium is intact, but only the stalls area is currently being used by the church. The church have built a new ‘proscenium’ in front of the original one. This is a ‘temporary’ structure which can easily be removed. Also, as they are only using the stalls area, a false ceiling made of cloth has been hung across from the front underside of the circle towards the ‘temporary’ proscenium. This too can easily be removed when they bring the circle back into use. It will assist in retaining the heat in the stalls area during winter, and hides the upper levels of the cinema which are still painted in Mecca Bingo colours.

michaelbrent on October 21, 2014 at 10:26 am

Could anyone confirm if the proscenium and auditorium ceiling have been altered or hidden, looking at some photographs it certainly was the case and being a listed building had to be restored?

michaelbrent on October 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

The venue is open as a church and conference venue

SMorgan on May 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm

The earlier Facebook link wasn’t working for me, this one should:

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davepring on April 6, 2010 at 10:17 am

Just checked the site Simon and it does work :)

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm

As of this date I am unable to open the

davepring on December 2, 2009 at 10:54 am in carlton islington in the search bar..details below:


Full titles read: “EIGHT PIANO RHAPSODY – Produced by Phil Finch. Filmed at Carlton Cinema, Islington, London.”

L/S’s of the pianists playing their pianos (it’s quite a spectacle). There are several good C/U’s and M/S’s of the pianists (Unfortunately this cataloguer cannot identify them). L/S’s and M/S’s of the audience watching solemnly from their seats.

Issue Date: 23/10/1933 Sound: Yes
Time in: 01:18:11:00 Time out: 01:21:49:00
Canister: PT 187 Film ID: 1090.12
Sort number: PT 187 Tape: PM1090
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davepring on December 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

on the pathe news website there is a short film of a stage show at the Carlton in the early 1930s…the film shows 7 grand pianos being played on stage and the camera pans around the auditorium.In the closing moments you see the original screen tabs and organ,marvelous stuff!

Olga on December 1, 2009 at 9:56 am

good news! this building will be cinema again!

visit our Carlton Cinema page on Facebook
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woody on November 25, 2009 at 11:35 am

photos from 2002 ish of the exterior as the Mecca

and a facebook group by the church that are planning to restore and reopen the Carlton
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the cinema was one of the filming locations this summer for the low budget British serial killer film TONY – out in cinemas next February, shot at the rear of the cinema and using the stairs and offices as a squat used by drug dealers

AdoraKiaOra on February 10, 2009 at 7:24 am

That has to be one of the best photo sets on here!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 10, 2009 at 7:17 am

A set of photographs of the Carlton/ABC, including vintage interior shots from April 1987:
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AdoraKiaOra on July 13, 2008 at 6:13 am

Nothing short of brilliant news!

kevinp on July 13, 2008 at 2:38 am

Apparently not as bad as thought, Ian.

A church group has taken it over and would like to see it/offer it to used for cinema use again, maybe carefully and resepctfully adding two more screens inside : with occasional use for church congregation overspill : similarly to the Notting Hill Coronet.

AdoraKiaOra on December 1, 2007 at 9:28 am

Ah the good old double bill!

AdoraKiaOra on December 1, 2007 at 8:59 am

The last photo by Lost Memory must be some years old as i used to pass there everyday and that show it looked 8 or 9 years ago, It looks in a pretty sorry state in that picture. I cant imagine how it must look today now its closed and abandoned. I wonder how long it will survive as the last Mecca to close in Hounslow closed this year and has already disapeared into dust.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

Four vintage photographs of the former Carlton (ABC) Cinema, courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association archives:
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AdoraKiaOra on October 21, 2007 at 7:13 pm

What brilliant news! Keep us posted on the progress.

kevinp on June 4, 2007 at 7:33 am

Apparently some raving idiots broke into it May 2007 and caused a lot of internal damage.

Kev P

AdoraKiaOra on May 3, 2007 at 5:58 am

I played bingo here on many occasions and lost a lot of games by letting my eyes wonder all over this huge and very impressive auditorium. Shame its now closed with a bleak future in front of it.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 27, 2007 at 4:39 am

After almost 35 years, the Mecca Bingo Club closed its doors on Sunday 25th March 2007. This is in advance of the new ‘no smoking’ in public places law which comes into effect in June. There is now serious concern as to what will become of this fine Grade II* Listed building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 27, 2006 at 6:27 am

Here is a current photograph of the egytian style facade of the former Carlton Cinema:
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