A brief history of The Old Cinema

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by The Old Cinema

The Old Cinema, London’s only antique, vintage, and retro department store, opened on Chiswick High Road in 1952. Recently named in the ‘100 best shops’ in the world by Retail Week , this former Edwardian picture palace boasts 10,000 square feet of showrooms and is home to a collective of antiques dealers, decorators, designers, artisans and jewellers.

 

HISTORY

The Old Cinema was just that, a local picture house circa 1908 to 1934, when it was relinquished and remained dark for two decades– apart from a brief spell as parachute storage during WWII

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Chiswick High Road – 1945

 

The building reopened in the 1950's selling Victorian furniture and was soon attracting a strong export market as traditional British antiques became the vogue around Europe, America and Japan.

 

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Construction in the store

 

During the 1970s, the site narrowly avoided demolition by a supermarket chain. Instead, a couple of local antique dealers obtained the freehold, refurbished the old building and created the much loved local attraction that continues to inspire visitors with its eccentric mix of furniture and accessories.

 

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David Bull Airbrush Artwork – 1989

 

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The Dome

 

This magnificent gilded dome ceiling was uncovered during the refurbishment and is one of the few remaining features of the original cinema interior, along with the original proscenium arch framing the cinema screen. Ticket stubs please!

 

NOW

 

Exterior


The shop today

 

Today’s stock is more diverse and unpredictable than ever. One morning the buyers pour over cargo from Scandinavia or the USA, whilst the next might bring a consignment of glass from Eastern Europe, lighting from Italy, or carvings and textiles from India. The ever-changing inventory makes The Old Cinema an unbeatable shopping destination for trade clients and private buyers alike. From kitsch Americana to period antique, Mad Men-style rosewood to hardcore industrial, Asian arts to French decadence, our finds have already made it onto the set of Hollywood movies, into exclusive hotels, fine restaurants and bakeries , trendy bars and boutiques , celebrity homes and castles. Despite its global appeal and size, The Old Cinema remains a family business and retains a friendly informality which helps to retain its unique character and operating style.

 

 

If you're interested in dealing at The Old Cinema, please email Will Hanness at will@theoldcinema.co.uk.

For employment opportunities, email ross@theoldcinema.co.uk

 

Places of interest in Chiswick include Chiswick House and Gardens and Hogarth's House

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