| The Scala in King’s Cross, London which most people know today as a Nightclub originally opened as the Scala Cinema on the 26th of April 1920 with a capacity of 1,300 people. The Cinema was designed by H. Courtenay Constantine and building work actually began some years earlier but the outbreak of war in 1914 stopped the construction and the building was instead used as a factory to help the war effort making airoplane parts and then later, at the end of the war in 1918, as a demob centre, before it was finally completed and opened as a Cinema in 1920.War was again to blight this building when it was damaged by German bombs during the second world war although the Theatre remained open until it was eventually closed on the 8th of May 1949 for repairs to the building. The Theatre was substantially altered at this time by the architects T. P. Bennett & Son and reopened on the 17th of March 1952 as the Gaumont Cinema.In November 1962 the Cinema was renamed Odeon under the ownership of the Rank Organisation. Rank then closed the Cinema on the 22nd of August 1970. The last film to be shown in the Cinema in its guise as an Odeon was ‘Airport.
Above – The Scala, King’s Cross in July 2004
The building was then taken over by an independent operator and renamed the King’s Cross Cinema which ran until 1975, after which it was closed and converted into a so called ‘Primatarium’ which involved converting the stalls into a forest and displaying live primates, but this venture was not successful and it was soon closed.
The building was then altered so that the former circle now became the cinema and was reopened as the Scala again in July 1981, ironically its first film showing was the 1933 classic ‘King Kong. In its guise as an art house Cinema the Scala became something of a success but was to lose its licence when it lost a court case after an illegal screening of the then banned ‘A Clockwork Orange.’
In March 1999 the building reopened after major transformation works which included adding two extra floors to the building and converting it into a Nightclub and Live Concert Venue with three bars, two dance floors and a stage for live performances, which is how it remains to this day.