Fulham Road Picturehouse

Fulham Road and Drayton Gardens,
London, SW10 6SD

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Picturehouse Cinemas UK (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Picturehouse Cinemas UK

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, Cineworld, MGM Theatres, UGC, Virgin Cinemas, Wyanbee Cinemas

Architects: John Stanley Beard, A. Douglas Clare

Firms: Beard & Clare, Earle Architects

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: Forum Theatre, ABC Fulham Road, Cannon, MGM, Virgin, UGC, Cineworld Cinema - Fulham Road

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440207.370.2110
Manager: 4400207.370.2110

Nearby Theaters

ABC Cinema 1

The Forum Theatre opened on 18th December 1930 with Lupez Velez in “The Storm”. Also in the opening bill was a variety stage show starring Clapham & Dwyer with a 24 piece orchestra. The original seating capacity was 2,200 in stalls and circle. The style of decoration was Classical, with Romanesque touches and there was a large 80 feet wide coffered dome in the auditorium ceiling. The side-walls were decorated with pastoral Italian scenes.

The stage was 30 feet deep and the proscenium was 45 feet wide. There were eight dressing rooms and the theatre was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/8Rank organ. The projection box was located in the rear of the orchestra stalls rather than the usual position at the rear of the circle. The Forum Theatre had a circular shaped tea-room/café located above the main entrance.

It was the first of three theatres to be designed for Herbert A. Yapp’s Wyanbee Theatres, a small circuit located in the north of London. The other two Forum Theatres at Kentish Town and Ealing were also designed by architect J. Stanley Beard for the circuit in 1934. The circuit was sold to Associated British Cinemas (ABC) on 8th April 1935. This cinema was re-named ABC in 1961 and during the 1960’s the Compton organ was removed. In June 1974 it was closed for conversion into a three-screen cinema (one in the circle, two in the stalls) and in early-1975 a fourth screen was added in part of the fly tower. The remainder of the fly tower and dressing rooms were converted into a squash court. In 1977 the circle screen was divided into two screens. In recent years, a sixth screen opened above the former squash court screen.

It has gone through several changes in ownership since the demise of ABC Cinemas and is currently operated by Cineworld. This cinema’s features include a beautiful exterior and lobby, along with a very courteous staff. Although all the trappings of the original auditorium have been scrapped, you could still some of the balcony moulding in auditoriums four and five and in the main entrance foyer.

Seating capacities are for 348, 327 in the former circle and 173 in the upper area of the squash court, and 219, 204 in the former stalls and 155 in the lower area of the squash court.

On June 10, 2019, it was announced that the Cineworld Cinema - Fulham Road is to be transferred over to Picturehouse Cinemas (owned by Cineworld) and would undergo a renovation to the plans of architectural firm Earle Architects following its closure on 6th October 2019. All original decorative features have been removed from the building, apart from the entrance foyer and a few original internal doors remain. It was re-named Picturehouse Fulham Road when it re-opened on 8th December 2019. The cinema now boasts two restaurants.

It was announced in May 2024 that the cinema had been sold to developers and would close in September 2024 to be demolished for a block of flats to be built on the site.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

antovolk on December 8, 2019 at 10:56 am

Just been to Screen 2 – the new seating is fantastic, so much legroom and space, even more so than at Picturehouse Central, and reclining backs also in the first few rows!

They’ve really gone all out on making this look fantastic, if you liked what Odeon did at the OLS this goes to a whole other level. Even the screens themselves are beautifully done up, with detailing and I think even curtains in Screen 3! All feels so much more spacious.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 13, 2019 at 7:42 pm


terry on December 14, 2019 at 5:49 am

Another licensed catering establishment with cinemas included for good measure. Seriously though, I suppose this is as good as you are likely to find these days putting aside ‘genuine’ restorations such as the Plaza Stockport, Odyssey St Albans etc.

I don’t know what they think a proscenium arch is but the original ‘pros’,if still in situ, will be concealed behind the subdivision works of 1975 when ABC quadrupled the original theatre.

In screens 1 & 3 there are ‘legs’ at each side of floating screens as opposed to ‘tabs’ (curtains) but at least lip service has been paid in these areas.

I think that if I lived in London I would prefer this venue to most of today’s purpose built multiplexes. The Odeon Theatre Leicester Square, of course, retains the circle/stalls principle (and the Compton organ) which I happen to like – if only they would use their TABS!!

CF100 on March 1, 2020 at 12:39 am

The “Fulham Road Picturehouse is OPEN!” video is also available on YouTube.

Hmm. The foyer/lobby areas are something of a mixed bag. I don’t get this “copper piping” decor… and I wonder what it will look like when it’s not shiny and new?

As for the auditoria, the blue upholstered seating looks very nice and the “legs” (as Terry refers to them) to the sides of certain screens are better than nothing.

However, the wall finishes aren’t obvious from the video, and the “bare” ceilings not only look rough, but need acoustic treatment…

Whatever one might think of the revamped OLS, for example, much effort went into stopping sound from getting in (soundproofing) and stopping sound from bouncing around the auditorium (absorption)—including the cherry veneered wooden panelling (which is actually “perforated” and hides yet more acoustic absorption placed behind.)

It certainly looks like a great deal more effort has gone into the “menu” (and I have no objection to that per se—cinemas certainly need to be “places” rather than simply shuffling patrons in and out of auditoria) rather than the provision of technically excellent standards of presentation, and I can’t imagine paying “premier screen” West End prices to see a film here…

Perhaps Cineworld, with their rollout of laser light source systems, have at least upgraded the projection…?

John Griffiths
John Griffiths on July 28, 2021 at 2:58 pm

I worked as a house manager here in the late 80’s and got to know the building very well. I would just like to clarify how it got to its present six screens. In 1974 it was converted to three screens, one in the circle and two in the stalls. In 1975 a fourth screen was added in the upper part of the stage house/fly-tower which was entered from a long corridor down the eastern side of screen one. The new auditorium was entered from the screen end and a projection box built within the old fly-tower on the rear wall. Next to it a staircase, built in the old dock door scenery area, descended to the street. The old stage and dressing rooms became squash courts and offices. In 1977 screen one in the old circle was divided into two, making five screens in total. Later, the squash courts on the old stage were converted into a sixth screen, when a new leisure complex and squash courts were built behind and adjoining the building. Very confusing but this is definitely what happened!

HowardBHaas on June 13, 2022 at 5:37 am

My friend Ken Roe, who is the volunteer Moderator of this website, and I visited the restored foyer last month of this theater, and we’ve posted photos of the foyer and the restored facade. Great job, Picturehouse!

Biffaskin on December 10, 2022 at 7:56 am

Surely this should be under Fulham rather than Chelsea?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 10, 2022 at 8:44 am

Biffaskin: there are establishments at least 7 roads further west which consider themselves in Chelsea. I think the dividing line is the southern end of Brompton Cemetery and the tube railway line.

Bill_Gibbs on May 22, 2023 at 5:52 pm

The Forum is in Kensington, more than a mile from Fulham.The opposite side of the road is in Chelsea. Fulham road starts just north of Putney bridge, running through fulham until Stamford bridge, then along the Kensington, Chelsea border until it meets Brompton road near south Kensington underground station.
Chelsea football ground is on the Kensington Fulham border and actually in Fulham, about 50 yards from Chelsea. Regarding the cinema, the off-licence on the Fulham road elevation was the projection rooms for the original cinema. It was rear stalls and below the circle. It was one of the first cinemas equipped for Cinemascope with the 4 track magnetic sound. Due to the reluctance of the chains to include the new sound systems, the optical track was put back, reducing the ratio from 1:2.55 to 1:2.35. One problem was that magnetic Cinemascope had a true optical center, not offset by the optical soundtrack, thus causing problems for changing from one to the other and for the adverts, newsreel and trailers. Later magnetic prints solved the problem by adding the optical soundtrack and offsetting the optical center to match standard 35mm layout. At the start of 70mm, projectors and sound systems could play 35mm stereo, but distributors did not see the additional costs of recording and striping the prints justified for a few theaters.

thomas_roo on June 2, 2024 at 11:59 am

I contacted Picturehouse about the apparent closure - they told me they weren’t aware of such an event, and that the building can’t be demolished anyway because it’s listed

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