separated at birth

empire state building

empire state building

gaumont state cinema

gaumont state cinema

One is an iconic building built in the 1930’s, a magnet for tourists, with queuing time to get in often stretching to seconds.  The other one is the Empire State Building.  Difficult to tell the difference no?

Opened in 1937, the Gaumont State Cinema is not the only iconic London building to have been saved by old dears playing bingo.  In my neck of the woods the old Granada Cinema has been saved by Gala Bingo, and the same happened to the Gaumont in the 1980’s, though by Mecca.  The size of the original cinema is quite amazing, over 4,000 seats and standing room for a further 4,000 at the rear of the balcony.  Compare that to London’s current largest capacity, 5,222 at the Royal Albert Hall, and you start to get an idea of quire how big this place is.  Bill Haley and The Rolling Stones have both played there but now the building is set for a different kind of worship.  Bought earlier this year by Ruach Ministries, the Gaumont is currently closed while the Ministry apply for a change of use.  As a grade II listed building, the church would have to “preserve the character and quality of the building”, but I would be more concerned about losing the building to the general public, than any cosmetic changes that the god botherers may have in mind.

Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping a close eye on developments as I’ve never been inside the Gaumont State Cinema, so I need to complete the set.  Although I don’t think you get this kind of view from the top of the Gaumont.

kilburn in all it's glory...

kilburn in all it's glory...

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