A last-ditch effort has been staged to prevent further demolition of a 1926 Art-Deco movie theater in London that hosted the early films of Alfred Hitchcock, whose family is backing an attempt to save the historic venue.
Property developer Minerva, which is controlled by Delancey and Ares, is redeveloping the former Odeon Kensington cinema, previously known as The Kensington, as part of a larger mixed-use site, incorporating apartments, offices, stores and a multiplex.
A group of local residents in the theater’s neighborhood, Kensington in West London, has presented an alternative proposal to convert the site into a multi-arts center. The group, The Friends of The Kensington, are supported by Hitchcock’s family, including his daughter Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell, and showbiz professionals like actors Ian McKellen, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Charles Dance and Jeremy Irons, and director Richard Eyre.
The group has presented a series of photographs of the Art-Deco interior of the building to the British Secretary of State for Culture, Karen Bradley, and have asked her to intervene to stop further demolition. The Art-Deco details were uncovered during the demolition process.
The main auditorium has now been demolished by the developers (Photo: Courtesy of The Friends of The Kensington)
Cartouche detail at the center of the proscenium arch over the theater’s stage (Photo: Courtesy of The Friends of The Kensington)