or over six years, locals have experienced withering collective disappointment at the unfulfilled promise of a cinema returning to Kentish Town for the first time in over four decades.
Meanwhile in an unexpected location just off the high street, a brand spanking new 100+ seater facility has been in construction, as can be seen in these first photos in all its fully air-conditioned mood-lit glory.
Before you dash to look for what’s on, it’s not a commercially run public cinema, however the friendly operators wish to extend an offer to attend some special screenings to Kentishtowner readers (see below).
Two floors below ground level, NW5’s brand new screen is part of The Stay Club, the latest student accommodation block now occupying the large former Magnet kitchen store site on Holmes Road.
As you can see from our exclusive first photos, it features fully accessible wide isles of reclaimed classic cinema seats, a large screen with wifi and satellite connectivity and a licenced café bar at street level.
The facility is one of a whole range of in-house comforts, (including a DJ area and breakfast lounge), for students renting accommodation upstairs or attending one of the regular language school courses, but the screening room space can also be booked by local groups for special events too.
It’s an exciting development for Kentish Town, where residents have overwhelmingly backed some form of new local cinema for years, to little actual avail.
After original plans for redevelopment of the former North London Polytechnic on the corner of Prince of Wales Road (more recently the UK’s biggest Pizza Express branch) were fiercely contested back in 2011, the dangled carrot of a new cinema helped usher through a revised scheme, only for it to flounder and the site to sit dilapidated and unfinished ever since.
While that project continues to be held up indefinitely, perhaps ultimately with no cinema in the final development, The Stay Club have – almost inadvertently – revived the grand tradition of the silver screen in NW5 for a new era.
Take a look back at our feature from 2013 which reveals the rich history of local screens including the long lost Gaisford, Electric Alhambra, The Gem, Palace, Gaumont and Lismore in a tour of the former sites.
Pick up the August print edition of Kentishtowner (out tomorrow, 26th July) for more on The Stay Club’s arrival in the area, their innovative offering and exciting plans for the months ahead.