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Curzon Mayfair
Photograph: Curzon

This historic London cinema is under threat of closure

The 80-year-old Curzon Mayfair is fighting for its future

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

A campaign has been launched to save one of London’s oldest cinemas from closure.

Curzon Mayfair, a storied cultural oasis located amid all the conspicuous wealth of London’s W1 postcode, is fighting for its future in the face of a threat of permanent shuttering.

The lease on the cinema at 38 Curzon Street is up for renewal soon, with the UK cinema chain keen to renew but facing rumours that the landlords plan to redevelop the building.

First opened in 1934, the Grade II listed cinema is described by Historic England as ‘the finest surviving cinema building of the post-war period’. This year it joined the likes of Soho’s The Coach and Horses pub and Heaven on Villiers Street in being designated an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (MCV) by Westminster City Council.

Should the building be put up for sale within five years, MCV status provides the cinema with six months to secure a buyer of its own. 

Curzon Mayfair is known for its premieres, ever-intriguing programming philosophy, chi-chi Art Deco bar and main 307-seat screen, complete with royal boxes.

 Curzon Mayfair
Photograph: Alexis StavridesScreen 1 at Curzon Mayfair

‘It’s one of London’s most loved cinemas,’ says Curzon CEO Philip Knatchbull. ‘The listed wall reliefs by sculptor William Mitchell and the stunning ceiling are both iconic pieces of British cinema design.

‘We are proud stewards of the venue and hope this ruling strengthens our ability to continue acting in the best interest of the venue and the local community,’ he adds. ‘The next six to 12 months will be most significant in the long history of Curzon’s presence on Curzon Street.’

It’s not the first Curzon Mayfair has faced down an existential threat. In 2017, Sadiq Khan intervened when the landlord demanded expensive soundproofing work be carried out on the building.

Sign the public petition to add your voice to the campaign to guarantee its future.

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