The Kensington Cinema

Granger and Leathart, London, 1926


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The recessed central portion of the entrance facade 

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  • The recessed central portion of the entrance facade    
  • The Kensington Road facade    
  • Recessed portion of entrance    
  • The entrance foyer    
  • The entrance hall looking towards the east staircase    
  • The entrance hall looking towards the pay box    
  • The auditorium viewed from the balcony    
  • A view towards the proscenium opening    
  • Ceiling detail at the back of the balcony    
  • The upper balcony tea lounge     
  • The west staircase viewed from the first floor    
  • The west staircase viewed from the ground floor    
  • The west staircase    
  • Carved mask in artificial stone    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Balcony floor plan    
  • Upper balcony floor plan    

Large cinema on an island site in Kensington, west London

The island site allows for a simple plan: the main circulation area is a direct route from the atrium to the auditorium, broken by payboxes into two streams. Two double staircases lead to the gallery and tea lounges above. These staircases pre-cast concrete but lined with marble.

Unusually, the architects were allowed to design every detail, from carpets and furniture down to door fitments.

The exterior is characterised firstly by a granite podium, which lies underneath the block frame of the building. This is broken by the set of 2m-high doors, and glazed glass windows above. These floor to ceiling windows permit the restaurants on the upper floor to be lit naturally.

This central portion is recessed from the main block. Its surrounding frame is in grey Aberdeen granite, with black granite plinth. A box sign hangs below the soffit labelling 'The Kensington', and is made from bronze.

The entrance doors are black and silver-gilt, with aluminium grilles. The pillasters are in blue and white facience. the paving is black and white marble mosaic. The greater exterior is characterised by black, green and orange banners. The brackets to these banners are in bronze and finished in antique green.

The building is constructed of inner and outer shells, carried by a system of combined truss and stanchion. These extend down the outer walls, obtaining solid bearing below floor level. This provides the building with an acoustic lining.

The interior auditorium has one large gallery, curving across its full breadth.


  • Completed: May 1926
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Address: Kensington Cinema, Kensington High Street, London, W8 6NA, United Kingdom

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