Saving the Electric Cinema

Electric Cinema – Seats and screens

The Electric Cinema, once described by David Putnam as ‘a temple to cinema’ was the UK’s first purpose-built cinema designed by architect Seymour Valentin in 1910. After many years of neglect and failure the building was virtually derelict when we became involved in 1998, albeit remaining largely original.

Working with various owners, we came up with a scheme of restoration and new build to create a unique venue, combining the historic with the latest sound and vision technology in luxurious surroundings, and comprising the cinema itself, a public bar/restaurant and a film and media based private members club for local residents.

The first phase for Stoneycroft Ltd included complete renovation and restoration of the cinema building, including adding a floor at the front, rebuilding the facade (which had never been properly completed in 1910 due to lack of funds), based on the original drawings and contemporary photographs and other sources. In addition GTA secured consent to redevelop the adjacent building which we went on to design and build to form the future restaurant, bar, brasserie and club, to a shell and core finish.

The second phase of works was carried out for the lessee’s and operators, Soho House plc, in collaboration with their own design team, and comprised all the fitting out, furnishing, kitchens, bars etc, to form The Electric, Electric Brasserie, and Electric House.

The Electric, Electric Brasserie and Electric House opened in March 2002, and all three have proved enormously popular. The Electric has become one of the highest occupancy cinemas in London, offering a unique cinema experience, as well as establishing itself as a premiere and preview venue to rival the West End sites.