Zayna Ali, Dorothy Edwin and Georgina Newson, Labour candidates for St James’s Ward, have given their support to the battle to save the Empire Cinema – formerly the Carlton – on Haymarket. This building is the only remaining major cinema of the inter-war years in London’s West End which is both substantially intact and in use as a cinema and should be listed.
SAVE and the Cinema Theatre Association are vigorously opposing an application from the freeholder of the site, The Crown Estate, for an official Certificate of Immunity from the listing of the building. A Certificate of Immunity would allow the destruction of the interior of the 1927 cinema. Only the façade on the Haymarket has a measure of protection from the fact that it is in the Haymarket Conservation Area.
“The Empire is the only grand Hollywood film palace left in the West End where patrons can still experience the glamour and splendour of the 1920s: a large foyer along the width of the whole building with festive neoclassical décor and elaborate stairs lead to the auditorium, bars and upper foyer, also lavishly decorated.
Though the stalls at the Empire have been subdivided into two smaller cinemas, the main screen still occupies the major part of the former auditorium. Its historic ceiling is virtually intact and the opulent decoration ingeniously integrates ventilation installations. Together with the highly ornamental frieze and elegant light fittings the space evokes the monumentality of Renaissance interiors. Hollywood film makers loved grandeur and show.”