ABC Kensal Rise
21 Chamberlayne Road,
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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.
Firms: Beard & Clare
Previous Names: Acme Picture Theatre, Kings Picture Palace, Palace Cinema
Here is the history of two buildings which came together as one, the location was on the east side of Chamberlayne Road Road near the intersection with Kilburn Lane at Kensal Green, in inner north west London.
The Acme Picture Theatre opened in October 1913 and was operated as an independent. In January 1914 it had new owners and the name was changed to Kings Picture Palace.
Designed by architects George D. Duckworth and Albert Howell, it was described as having an imitation stone front with a bold portico surmounted by a dome with flambeau. The auditorium seated 300 on one level.
In February 1931 a new company was formed, Palace Kensal Rise Ltd. and work began on the construction of a new auditorium at the rear of the Kings Picture Palace. Designed in an Art Deco style, the architects were John Stanley Beard and A. Douglas Clare and the decorative work was carried out by W.R. Bennett. Seating was provided for 1,600 in stalls and balcony levels. When the new building was completed, the screen end of the Kings Picture Palace was removed and the two buildings were ‘joined together’.
Opened as the New Palace Cinema on 17th September 1931 with Lawrence Tibbett in “New Moon”. The former Kings Picture Palace had been converted into a very large foyer to the newly built auditorium. The former projection box became the managers office, where the proceedings going on in the foyer could be viewed by looking out of the old projection port holes.
From 19th February 1935 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas Ltd. (ABC) and the name shortened to Palace Cinema. ABC continued to operate it for the remainder of it’s cinematic life. It was re-named ABC in 1970 and was closed on 12th January 1974 with Eric Porter in “The Belstone Fox” and Chad Everett in “The Firechasers”.
The building was converted into a bingo hall but that didn’t take off and was soon closed. It then became a nightclub named the Tropical Palace which featured Reggae music which closed in 1983. Eventually the entire building was demolished and by 1993 housing had been built on the site.
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