London Experience

Trocadero Centre, 13 Coventry Street,
London, W1D 7DH

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PeterDraper on April 9, 2024 at 12:19 am

@milst1 See my earlier comment, I was one of the first 4 house managers at the original Experience, I remember Leslie and his wife well. Prior to the launch they were often at the theatre, tweaking and refining the presentation. There was a General Manager and four house managers, Me, A guy called Steven who had worked at The cinerama, Eddie somebody and I think a lady called Susan. We hired an out of work actor to dress as the Town Crier and attract the customers. After the show closed I heard he still wore the costume and actually called himself The Town Crier of London.

PeterDraper on April 9, 2024 at 12:10 am

I was one of 4 people selected as House Managers for The London Experience. We worked on setting up the merchandising before it opened and afterwards were responsible for the smooth(ish) running of the shows. There was a large pre-show area with a replica of the London Wall and slideshows presented on it. We had a console with a pre-recorded announcement telling waiting viewers that the show was about to start and to open the doors. Sometimes we used a mic and read the preamble live. At one time we started to get an awful smell in the pre-show area, and discovered that the large Chinese Restaurant on the 2nd floor had been pouring fat down the drains that congealed and blocked up (and ultimately broke) the drainage. Dyno Rod came and sent in operatives in hazmat suits to clear everything…

milst1 on June 8, 2021 at 6:44 pm

Thank you so very much, @colinking, for the YouTube video (only one of the video links worked, unfortunately) and also for the docs on Google drive (AV articles and ticket/flyer scans). I was able to actually get my hands on a copy of the souvenir program in good condition, as well as a movie poster, which I believe came from the original theater at Old Lyons House.

Follow-up question: I have sources that say that the show operated 1977-1980, and then one source (Electrosonic’s company magazine) which says that the attraction was poised to reopen 1984. Could that reopening date be correct? I am unable to find media mentions of either the re-opening or the final closing in 1989. Thanks again to all, especially @colinking, for the information and ephemera.

zanygang on February 4, 2021 at 2:59 pm

I first went to the London Experience in December 1985. The Friday before Christmas I slipped out of work early to avoid the annual borefest known as the office party, and on the way home I had a look at the Trocadero in Picadilly. On Christmas Eve we were allowed to leave at lunchtime so on the way home I decided to have another look at the Trocadero and came across the London Experince and was there just in time for the next show, so I went in. I saw the London Experience again the following Xmas Eve, and the year after that. The next year Xmas Eve was a Saturday, so I went on Friday the 23rd of December. And on Friday the 22nd of December 1989 I went to the Trocadero and found that the London Experience had closed.

colinking on January 3, 2021 at 4:18 pm

I’ve been meaning to elaborate on my earlier posts for a long….. long time. I have a few videos taken during the last months of The London Experience. These are unfortunately on Video 8 tape format and I no longer have a player. I did manage to convert some of the tapes to digital and have put them on You Tube at: and

I do have a copy of the souvenir program somewhere but can’t find it just now. However, I have scans of an article from Audio Visual magazine for August 1977 which describes the original London Experience. And a cutting of unknown origin which mentions the same. Also scanned a flyer and complimentary admission ticket for the “new” London Experience". These can be viewed here:

I can probably answer most questions about the later L.E. I still have manuals for most of the equipment used somewhere have schematics. I was projectionist, technician and duty manager for about five years until it was forced to close due to Trocadero re-development.

milst1 on January 3, 2021 at 1:29 pm

Thank you for these interesting comments. I have been doing research on the string of shows in the ‘70s and '80s that were called “The Experience”. It’s very hard to find information about The London Experience, especially from here in New York. I do have a photocopy of an original souvenir program. Robin Prater is not mentioned by name in the credits, keiths, but there is a credit for “Audio-visual system and controls by Electrosonic”. The show was nominally presented by Lord Bernard Delfont, but the Producer/Director was Leslie Buckland and his company, Carabiner. I got the photocopy of the program from Buckland’s widow after I interviewed her. I believe that @keiths and @glyn_lewis are correct that the original show was in the Old Lyons House and it was moved to the Trocadero. I have been unable to find any reports of the show’s closure except for this thread. Lord Delfont must have been disappointed with it as it’s not given a single mention in his 1990 autobigraphy. Anyone know of any articles or reports out there? Again, thank you.

glyn_lewis on November 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I remember the 5 screen presentation (and the smoke effects for The Great Fire of London). It was certainly a cinema of some kind, as much as any location-specific movie presentation. I can confirm keiths observation thst it was first located in the old Lyons Corner House at the corner of Coventry Street & Rupert Street (now Planet Hollywood). Its second home in the Trocadero Centre occupied a space which was later used for the Guinness World of Records, then incorporated into the MGM Trocadero.

colinking on January 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Not truly a cinema but it did show a movie…… albeit the same one over and over about 20 times a day.
I joined The London Experience as a projectionist / technician in 1983, or was it 1984? Shortly after it opened.(Old man, memory problems)
There were five 3m x 3m screens, side by side. Each screen served by six Kodak 2010 carousel projectors loaded with 46mm superslides and retro fitted with auto lamp changers. Each bank of six projectors was controlled by an Electrosonic “box” which could step forward or back, home the carousel and fade the lamp at controlled speeds. Rapidly stepping and fading all of the projectors could produce an impressive “moving” effect. There was a movie projector. A Philips, Kineton FP20 fitted with an anamorphic lens covered the centre three screens. 35mm filmstock ran in an endless loop, starting and stopping at various points in the presentation and blended with the carousel content. Optical stereo sound from the film was mixed with a five channel soundtrack (FL,C,FR,RL,RR)from a Studer A80 (1", 8 track)tape machine. Six 18" JBL speakers lurked behind the screens with two more at the rear of the auditorium. Amplification was four Quad 405-2 and an Ampex (or was it Ampeg?)Two 36" EV speakers in custom housings provided bass effects such as WW2 bombs. A theatre lighting rig provided further effects with photoflashes and flame and cloud effects which would be projected over the entire auditorium. Add a smoke machine for fog and smoke effects. A single button push started the show with everything from that point controlled by data tracks on the Studer.The presentation lasted 35 minutes. Tape auto rewound and everything synced ready restart 5 minutes later.
The last year of it’s life was blighted by jackhammers and a leaky roof caused by construction work as the building was extended upwards. Finally closed in 1989 but by that time in dire need of content upgrade. My last job was decommissioning and removing everything. I’ll find a few key photos and post them somewhere.

keiths on June 17, 2008 at 7:33 am

The multi-media show was produced by Robin Prater – one of the leading exponents in the AV field – and, if my memory serves me well, MAY actually have involved the use of at least one movie projector as well as 56 Kodak carousel slide projectors showing 46mm superslides. The whole lot was controlled from a multi-track tape via Electrosonic
equipment. I also seem to remember that it used to live in the former ‘Lyons Corner House’ before it went into the newly converted Trocadero. It had operated very successfully in it’s original home, which I believe became part of the Troc, but never really took off in its new home – mind you, neither did most of the OTHER attractions which found their way in there!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 12, 2008 at 10:44 am

There was also a short-lived IMAX inside the Trocadero that may have used this same space.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 11, 2008 at 12:10 pm

There was also the small cinema on the side street.


Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm

The Trocadero still has a cinema.


Doolally on May 11, 2008 at 12:02 pm

To a certain extent I agree, but on the other hand, the Troc complex is a former cinema complex.