260 Hendon Way,
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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Cannon Cinemas, Classic Cinemas (UK), Gaumont-British-Picture Corp., Ltd., London & Southern Super Cinemas Ltd., MGM Theatres, Rank Organisation
Architects: G.E. McLeavy
Functions: Medical Center
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Ambassador Cinema, Gaumont, Classic, Cannon, MGM
This large suburban cinema is located opposite Hendon Central underground railway (tube) station in the northwest London district of Hendon. It opened as the Ambassador Cinema on 15th February 1932. It was designed by architect G.E. McLeavy, working out of the office of the architectural firm of Henry F. Webb & Ash. It was built for London & Southern Super Cinemas Ltd. chain and was equipped for live variety shows and its facilities included a café and a Compton 3Manual/8Ranks theatre organ. It was taken over by Gaumont British Cinemas in December 1933 and re-named Gaumont in 1949.
The Gaumont was one of many Rank Organisation cinemas which were sold to the Classic Cinemas chain in December 1967 and they modernised the building and it re-opened as the Classic Cinema on 8th December 1968 with “Survival” and Pierre Etaix in “As Long As You’re Healthy”.
It was split into three screens on 13th May 1973 with seating now 580, 399, and 423. Classic Cinemas were taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group and it was re-named Cannon in December 1985. Another name change came when Cannon Cinemas sold out to MGM Theatres and it became the MGM Cinema from 1993, but this was short lived and a further final name change to ABC Hendon occurred in 1996. The ABC was closed on 20th January 1997 with the films “Daylight”, “Star Trek:First Contact”, “Jingle All The Way”, and “101 Dalmations”.
The former Ambassador Cinema was converted into a Holmes Place gym and fitness centre, which became a Virgin Active Health Club. By 2018 it was the Nuffield Health Centre.
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