Picture Palaces
[ HOME ]
Astoria SW9 | Bedford NW1 | Biograph NW6 | Brixton Hill CT SW9 | Connaught W2 | Electric W11 | Everyman NW3 | Fan NW1 | Forum NW5
Gale NW1 | Grange NW6 | Hampstead PP NW3 | Hippodrome NW1 | Kilburn PP NW6 | Maida Vale PP W9 | Odeon NW3 | Palladium SW9
Plaza NW1 | Ritzy SW9 | Scala N1 | Shepherds Bush CT W12 | State NW6 | Tatler WC2 | Tolmer NW1 | Tower SE15 | Tower Annexe SE15




PLAZA, Camden Town
(1909-1994)
211 Camden High Street, London NW1

This cinema opened as the Electric Theatre in a former bakery in1909. Like several other cinemas in London, including its sister Electric Theatres in Tufnell Park and Islington, it was run, unsurprisingly, by Electric Theatres Limited. In 1914 it became the Theatre de Luxe, with a seating capacity of approximately 600. By 1919 this had grown to 731 seats and the cinema was now called the Britannia Picture Palace. In 1934 the cinema installed a sound system and was taken over by the General Cinema Theatre Company, who in 1938 passed it to Town Theatres Ltd., who renamed it the Plaza.

In 1942 the Plaza was acquired by the Odeon chain and later the Rank chain. But it was too small to act as a major cinema and soon began to deteriorate and acquire an unsavoury reputation. In 1977 the Artificial Eye company took it over and reopened it as an art house, reducing the seating to 340 in the interests of comfort. It tended to specialise in earnest foreign films which were good for you; I went to one or two but cannot remember now what they were.

Finally in 1994 the lease renewal tripled the rent and with a final programme of the controversial classic Peeping Tom, the cinema closed for good. The building, or at least the facade, was refurbished - the pointed roof is much as it was - and the former Plaza is, perhaps appropriately, now a video shop.

Top of page