161-167 Oxford Street,
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Architects: Leslie H. Kemp
Firms: Gilbert & Constanduros
Previous Names: Picture House, Academy Cinema
The Picture House opened on 25 January 1913, and was originally a single screen venue with a two-level auditorium with 601 seats; 434 in the stalls and 171 in the circle, plus stand spaces for 63. There was a ballroom located in the basement. It was re-modeled in 1929 to the plans of architect Leslie H. Kemp and the seating capacity was reduced to 534.
The building suffered bomb damage in October 1940 and didn’t re-open until 14th March 1944. In 1954 it was given a new decorative treatment, designed by photographer Angus McBean, when the auditorium was decorated in a bright red festoon patterned wallpaper.
An additional screen was built in the former basement ballroom, opening on 31st March 1965 with 404 seats. A third smaller 96-seat screen was built in disused office space, and the cinema was renamed Academy 1-2-3. It also boasted a restaurant and licenced bar.
The cinema closed permanently on 2 April 1986 screening; “Dangerous Moves”, “The Empty Table” and “The Wanderer”. It was demolished in February 1989 to make way for an office and retail development, which by 2016 had been vacated and was standing empty.
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