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The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, London

Later - The Gaumont Theatre / Odeon Haymarket

The Capitol Theatre - Electric Lighting at the Capitol Theatre - The Gaumont Theatre - The Odeon Haymarket

The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The Auditorium and Proscenium Opening of the Capitol Theatre - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.The Capitol Theatre was situated on the Haymarket in London, just up the road from Her Majesty's Theatre, the Theatre Royal, and the later Carlton Theatre, and took up the entire block between Jermain Street and St. James's Market. The Theatre's small main entrance was on the corner of the Haymarket and Jermain Street. The Theatre was the first design by the now well known cinema architect Andrew Mather, who would go on to design the Odeon, Leicester Square with Harry Weedon, the Odeon, Camberwell with Keith P. Roberts, and many other Odeon Cinemas for Oscar Deutsch. Andrew Mather was also responsible for the 1938 redecoration of the Theatre Royal, Chatham when it was renamed the Hippodrome, and for designing the recently demolished Leicester Square Theatre.

Right - The Auditorium and Proscenium Opening of the Capitol Theatre - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

The Sunday Post reported briefly on the new Capitol in their February 8th 1925 edition saying:- 'The Capitol Theatre, London's latest super-cinema, is to open this week, when the first film to be shown at this palatial house of entertainment will be a French production called "The Miracle of the Wolves." The Capitol is no ordinary cinema however, for it is a combination of cinema, super-restaurant, and dance club, and each of these things will be on a scale and a lavishness new to London. And already I hear of two cinemas with an even greater seating capacity that are projected - one of them at Brighton and the other in the West End. - The Sunday Post, February 8th 1925.

The Capitol Theatre was built for Sir Walter Gibbons who originally leased it to the Clavering Brothers for its opening on the 11th of February 1925 with a showing of the Film 'The Miracle of the Wolves', see below.

A Scene from the Film 'The Miracle of the Wolves' - From the ILN, February 21st 1925.

Above - A Scene from the Film 'The Miracle of the Wolves' - From the ILN, February 21st 1925.

The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925The Capitol Theatre seated 1,550 people in its opulent Neo-Classical style auditorium consisting of Stalls, Circle, and Upper Circle. Even the Stalls were upstairs however, so people had to climb the stairs to the first floor before entering the stalls, and even more stairs for the circles of course, although lifts were also provided.

Right - The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925, see enlargement and information below.

The Lighting for the Theatre was designed by the Illuminating Engineering Department of the General Electric Company, Limited, details of which, along with more images of the Theatre, can be seen in an article below.

When the Capitol Theatre opened it was equipped with a Norman & Beard 4Manual/34stops Organ which was played by George Pattman for its opening. However, the Organ would later be replaced by a Compton 3Manual/9Rank Theatre Organ in 1930. The Theatre was also equipped with a 30 foot deep Stage, twenty Dressing Rooms for artistes, two Ballrooms, and several Tea Rooms as part of its original construction.

Directors and Staff of the Capitol Theatre, Oliver Bernard, E. M. Bates, Albert Clavering, Joseph Clavering, Kennedy Russell, and Mervyn McPherson - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

Above - Directors and Staff of the Capitol Theatre, Oliver Bernard, E. M. Bates, Albert Clavering, Joseph Clavering, Kennedy Russell, and Mervyn McPherson - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

'The Siege of Beauvais' A scene from 'The Miracle of the Wolves' the opening film at the Capitol Theatre in February 1925 - From The Sphere, February 14th 1925.The Bioscope reported on the new Capitol Theatre in their February the 12th 1925 edition saying:- 'To create an entirely new type of entertainment, as distinctive in character as the house, is the aim of Joseph and Albert Clavering (shown above), proprietors of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, which was to open yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

Right - 'The Siege of Beauvais' A scene from 'The Miracle of the Wolves' the opening film at the Capitol Theatre in February 1925 - From The Sphere, February 14th 1925.

Designed by Andrew Mather, M.S.A., the Capitol is a steel frame building, faced with Portland stone from the St. Paul's Quarry at Portland (and similar to that used for St. Paul's Cathedral). Standing at the corner of Haymarket and Jermyn Street, the house occupies an island site on what was once part of the ancient St. James' Market. (The difficulty of finding a site for a theatre nowadays in this part of London is accentuated by the fact that the London County Council insists that new theatres shall be on island sites.) Incidentally, the Capitol covers almost exactly one-quarter of the ground area occupied by Covent Garden Theatre and its seating capacity is 15 per cent greater.

The entrance vestibule is at the corner of Haymarket and Jermyn Street, whence a bronze and marble staircase leads to the booking hall on the first floor. From this point, lifts and staircases lead to all parts of the auditorium and the foyers. The interior of the house is long and narrow, accommodation being provided for 2,000 spectators in velvet tip-up chairs throughout. The whole of the seating is on two floors, each of which has an exceptionally steep rake, ensuring a perfect view of the screen from any part of the house. A particularly pleasing and distinguished result is produced by the general colour scheme, which is purple, silver and grey, giving a curious effect of iridescence. The lighting of the auditorium is designed to give colour effects of over fifty different tints and can be controlled from the operating box or the stage...

An Advertisement for 'Bulman's Screens' as fitted in the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From a 'Bulman Cinema Screen Co.' Brochure.

Above - An Advertisement for 'Bulman's Screens' as fitted in the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From a 'Bulman Cinema Screen Co.' Brochure.

...As the Capitol was designed specially for film entertainment, the stage accommodation is extremely limited. In taking over the theatre, Messrs. Clavering were, therefore, confronted with a difficult problem in finding a means of presenting the varied " turns," ranging from dramatic items to ballet, which it is their intention to incorporate with the film programme. The absence of a fireproof curtain, which cannot be provided on this stage, rendered ordinary scenic effects impossible, owing to the bye-laws of the L.C.C.

The difficulty was overcome by the Artistic Director of the Capitol, Oliver Bernard, who has devised a method of producing stage effects with such material as sheet-iron, steel or asbestos scenery, supplemented by projection. In other words, scenic effects will be obtained by means of the arc lamp instead of the brush.

It will be appreciated that such conditions demand an extremely efficient and compact electrical installation. The ordinary film screen, as such, has been dispensed with. In its place has been installed a "panorama," on which not only films, but every conceivable lighting effect will be projected.

The stage effects will be operated and the entire performance controlled throughout by a functionary known as the Stage Controller, who will direct operations by means of an electrical control-board communicating with the switch-board operators, the projection operators, the musical director and all parts of the building. What is more, the Stage Controller - unlike the Stage Director in the ordinary theatre - will be in a position to observe these operations from beginning to end.

The lighting of the auditorium and the stage will be done by a "plot," specially worked out for each programme. "Sound effects will be employed," Mr. Bernard told a Bioscope representative, "but they will be strictly subsidiary to the musical accompaniment and will be designed to create atmosphere rather than to achieve mere realism..."

The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre - From The Sphere, February 14th 1925.

Above - The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre - From The Sphere, February 14th 1925.

...Mr. Barnard, who will have complete artistic control of the Capitol, has had twenty-seven years' experience of stage work. He commenced as a scenic artist, but found that phase of the theatre-craft too limited for the full expression of his ideas and accordingly made himself master of all departments of stage technique. He spent seven years in the U.S.A., partly at the Boston Opera House, and has been associated in London with such elaborate productions as "Decameron Nights" and "The Great Day" at Drury Lane. For many years before the War he was technical; and Artistic Director at Covent Garden Opera House, and, when his time permits, he is still Technical Director of the British National Opera Company. He is also on the staff of the Department of Overseas Trade for Exhibition work.

While acting fro the Government as artistic adviser in regard to displays in H.M. Government Pavilion at Wembley Exhibition, Mr. Barnard conceived, designed and produced the "Attack on Zeebrugge" spectacle, which, originally intended to be a temporary stop-gap, ran for the duration of the exhibition. In connection with Wembley, he designed for the Air Force a similar spectacle depicting an Air Attack on London; but on the fourth day of rehearsals he blew himself up and was taken to hospital! Incidentally, all the external decorations of the Wembley restaurants, beside most of the Amusement Park, were the work of Mr. Barnard...

The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

Above - The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre - From The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

...The orchestra at the Capitol, where music will naturally be an important feature, will be under the direction of Kennedy Russell.

For the opening performance at the Capitol the remarkable programme was to include the first exhibition in Britain of "The Miracle of the Wolves," the big French historical production, which recently ran for a month at the Paris Opera House, being the first film ever shown in that theatre. Other items of the programme were to be operatic excerpts by Norman Williams, the well-known festival soloist, supported by a chorus of forty; ballets from "Prince Igor" by the "Capitol Ballet," headed by Zelia Raye and Fay Cole; and the "Capitol Review," a special compilation of topical films, including many exclusive sections, from all parts of the world.'

The above text in quotes was first published in The Bioscope, February the 12th 1925.

The Auditorium of the former Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925The Capitol Theatre was later leased to the General Theatres Corporation who would be taken over by Gaumont British Theatres in 1928. The Theatre was home to the first British 'Talkie' Film on the 28th of July 1929 when it premiered Alfred Hitchcock's 'Blackmail' which had a very successful run at the Theatre for several months. However, the Theatre was to have quite a short life in this form and by 1936 it was already being reconstructed as the Gaumont Theatre, details below.

Right - The Auditorium of the former Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925, see enlargement and information below.

The ERA reported briefly on the imminent demolition of the Capitol theatre in their 22nd of January 1936 edition saying:- 'The Capitol Theatre, which closed for reconstruction during the week-end, has been something of a "hoodoo" for its various proprietors, and the climb to the top of its high circle was as near as most Londoners get to Alpine achievement. On its opening night, with "Miracle of the Wolves," the operator accidentally mixed up the reels, but no one really noticed the mishap. It was that kind of film. The late Jimmy Bryson once tried to start a news story at the Capitol by attempting to "steal" his own film from the box, but he was frustrated in time. Pity.' - The ERA, 22nd of January 1936.

The Gaumont Theatre, Haymarket

Queen Mary arriving at the new Gaumont, Haymarket for the opening of the Theatre on the 4th of February 1937 - From The Scotsman, 5th February 1937.Gaumont British Theatres completely reconstructed the former Capitol Theatre after the last showing of the film 'Foreign Affaires' there closed the Theatre on the 18th of January 1936. Gaumont then gutted the auditorium and built a new Cinema with Stalls in the former Kit Kat Restaurant, originally situated in the basement of the Theatre, with a Circle on Ground Level. A new entrance was placed in the centre of the building where the Restaurant entrance had formerly been. At the same time the upper floors of the original Theatre were converted into offices.

The Cinema was designed by William Edward Trent in the Art Deco Style, with concealed lighting, and decorative panels and sculptured nude figures by Sigmund Pillitzer. A new Compton Organ was installed for the Theatre which opened on the 4th of February 1937 with the Royal Premier of the Film 'The Great Barrier' which was attended by Queen Mary.

Right - Queen Mary arriving at the new Gaumont, Haymarket for the opening of the Theatre on the 4th of February 1937 - From The Scotsman, 5th February 1937.

The ERA reported on the Theatre's imminent reopening in their 3rd of February 1937 edition saying:- 'Queen Mary will attend to-morrow's presentation of "The Great Barrier," new G.-B. spectacle, at the Gaumont Haymarket, at 9 p.m., in aid of the Safer Motherhood Appeal, of which Mrs. Baldwin is chairman. [The] occasion also marks the opening of this new luxury cinema, built on the site of the old Capitol.

Lilli Palmer who starred in the opening film 'The Great Barrier' at the new Gaumont, Haymarket - From The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 22nd January 1937.[The] new theatre is the latest and most luxurious of London's West-End cinemas, and seats 1,300 people - 250 fewer than in the old theatre. It contains very latest seating, air conditioning, lighting and heating systems, and when "The Great Barrier" flashes on the screen, the London audience will hear for the first time the new Duosonic sound system, latest and most revolutionary invention in the talkie field.

Left - Lilli Palmer who starred in the opening film 'The Great Barrier' at the new Gaumont, Haymarket - From The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 22nd January 1937.

This system not only eliminates "blind spots" in the auditorium, and "sprays" the sound to every part of the house, but also focuses the sound on the part of the screen from which it is supposed to be coming. Another innovation at the new Gaumont is the fact that the organ slides into the auditorium from a recess on the side of the stage, instead of rising through floor. [The] entrance on the Haymarket contains a pay-box on the kerbside and a few steps up or down lead, respectively, to the circle and stalls.

"The Great Barrier" is probably the biggest picture yet undertaken by Gaumont-British. The order of the programme is: "Rock Pools," a G.B.I. Secrets of Life film with an Emmett commentary; "Mother Pluto," the latest Disney cartoon; G.B. News, and "The Great Barrier."

Terence Casey, from Gaumont Palace, Chelsea, is the organist of the new cinema. The Royal box, which has fifteen seats, will be decorated with red carnations and spring flowers. Queen Mary's programme will be bound with blue hydrangea ribbon.' - The ERA, 3rd of February 1937.

The ERA also reported briefly on the Theatre's Stage equipment in their 20th of January 1937 edition saying:- 'The stage equipment being installed by Strand Electric includes a 30-ft. 50-compartment footlight of their well-known "Sunray" Magazine pattern, wired for three colours (red, green, and blue), two 30-ft. 50-compartment battens, also of their "Sunray" type, complete with raising and lowering gear, and various three-colour dip boxes with traps for letting flush into the stage floor. The whole of the stage lighting equipment is controlled by a three-colour Strand Electric combined switchboard and dimmer regulator.' - The ERA, 20th of January 1937.

Barry Mackay and Lilli Palmer who starred in the opening film 'The Great Barrier' at the new Gaumont, Haymarket - From The Sphere, 30th January 1937.The Birmingham Gazette of the 4th of February 1937 also carried a short article on the imminent opening of London's new Gaumont Theatre saying:- 'If the old Capitol Cinema successfully reopens tomorrow night as the New Gaumont Haymarket, a tribute should he paid to the skilled workmen of London. When I looked round this afternoon there were at least a hundred men and women hurrying to finish the job.

Right - Barry Mackay and Lilli Palmer who starred in the opening film 'The Great Barrier' at the new Gaumont, Haymarket - From The Sphere, 30th January 1937.

Women were sewing carpets, men moved them out of the lobby to lay one on completion. Painters and joiners worked on the stage, technicians stood around the organ. In the projection room I was shown how the operators had to perform six motions with the left hand in 1½ seconds, a process so precise that they lose the rhythm if they attempt to use the right hand as well.

Probably to-morrow's visitors will not only notice that in decoration this cinema is in the usual florid style, but that it is unusual in having fewer stairs to climb and in the installation of really diffused sound so that each seat is equally good for audibility.

The film with which this new cinema opens is appropriate for a large-scale rush job, it is an epic of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Nature is the star. The landscapes in the Rockies are magnificent and photographed with great imagination, and the fight against mountain and swamp is twice as interesting as the personal conflicts which are introduced for light relief. Once again this film proves that the screen's ace of trumps is the race between a train and a party of men on horseback.' - The Birmingham Gazette, 4th February 1937.

The Gaumont Theatre had first opened on the 4th of February 1937 but it was not to last long, and was closed on the 10th of June 1959 for yet more rebuilding, this time as an office building with a small Odeon Cinema in the basement, details below.

The Odeon, Haymarket

A Google StreetView Image of the former Odeon, Haymarket and Office Building above, which was a reconstruction of the former Gaumont Theatre and built on the site of the even earlier Capitol Theatre, Haymarket in 1959 - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the former Odeon, Haymarket and Office Building above, which was a reconstruction of the former Gaumont Theatre and built on the site of the even earlier Capitol Theatre, Haymarket in 1959 - Click to Interact.

The former Gaumont Theatre was never that successful and it was eventually closed on the 10th of June 1959 for further rebuilding, this time by the Rank Organisation, who again gutted the building and then created a small 600 seat Odeon Cinema in the basement, designed by the architect Leslie C. Norton, and a new Office Building was then constructed above the Cinema, which is still there today, see image above. The new Cinema opened as the Odeon Haymarket on the 4th of June 1962 with the Film 'Barabbas' which ran there for 6 months.

Stills from 'Barabbas', the opening film at the Odeon Haymarket on the 4th of June 1962 - From The Sphere, 26th May 1962.

Above - Stills from 'Barabbas', the opening film at the Odeon Haymarket on the 4th of June 1962 - From The Sphere, 26th May 1962.

The Sphere reported on the Cinema's imminent opening in their 26th of May 1962 edition saying:- 'On June 4, the new, luxurious Odeon, Haymarket, of the Rank Organisation, will become only the second big cinema to open in the West End since the end of the war. Situated in an office block on the site of the old Gaumont (which, in its turn, replaced the Capitol), the cinema reflects the changing trends in the film world. It has only 600 seats compared with the Gaumont's 1,300 and is designed to impress with comfort. And chosen to open the new cinema is a film very much in the current cinema fashion. For Barabbas is a big, lavish Biblical epic, and one of the best of this well-populated category. It is made in widescreen and Technicolor. Another pointer to the way things are going is that the film was made in Rome, now claiming to be rivalling Hollywood, under the production banner of Dino de Laurentiis, an Italian whose plans are as grandiose as any dreamed of in Hollywood. Barabbas, which was directed by Richard Fleischer, is released in Britain by Columbia through B.L.C. Films...

A Still from the opening film, 'Barabbas', at the Odeon Haymarket on the 4th of June 1962 - From The Sphere, 26th May 1962.

Above - In the climatic gladiatorial combat, Torvald in his chariot bears down on Barabbas (Anthony Quinn), who is armed only with a spear. A Still from the opening film, 'Barabbas', at the Odeon Haymarket on the 4th of June 1962 - From The Sphere, 26th May 1962.

...With a screenplay by Christopher Fry based on the novel by Par Lagerkvist, the epic tells the story of Barabbas, the thief released by public acclaim instead of Christ. It traces his career as, burdened by an uncomprehended guilt, he sees the Crucifixion, is arrested again, spends many years in the appalling sulphur mines of Sicily, and becomes a gladiator in Rome. Finally he joins the Christians, accused of setting the city on fire, awaiting death in the Roman capital. Chief merits of the film are a magnificent performance by Anthony Quinn as the brutish, brutal but sympathetic Barabbas struggling towards comprehension of a world outside his senses, and one of the most exciting gladiatorial combats ever filmed—that between Torvald, the champion gladiator, and Barabbas.' - The Sphere, 26th of May 1962.

The Odeon Cinema opened on the 4th of June 1962 and continued in operation until January 2000, despite being closed for refurbishment briefly in 1999. The Cinema then remained closed for a number of years but was finally gutted and stripped out, and that's how it remains to this day, just a shell of a Cinema in the basement of an office building which was once the site of the magnificent Capitol Theatre.

There is more information and many images of the former Capitol Theatre from The Cinema News and Property Gazette of February the 19th 1925 below.

Some of the above information was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Electric Lighting at the Capitol Theatre

From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925In London's latest super-cinema - the Capitol Theatre, situated in Haymarket - designed by the well-known architect, Andrew Mather, 30, John Street, W.C., every consideration has been given to making the building attractive, and to provide maximum comfort for its patrons; to this end the aid of electricity for lighting and power purposes has been invoked with a considerable measure of success.

The exterior lighting of the Capitol Theatre is extensive. Surmounting the magnificent building (shown above) is an immense glass tower; this is illuminated at night time with Osram vacuum and gas-filled lamps. It is very prominent, and can be seen from many directions at considerable distances.

Immediately below the tower are fixed four bronze lanterns; these contain high-wattage Osram gas-filled Lamps. Symmetrically spaced as they are, round the base of the tower, these illuminated lanterns are very attractive.

As a pleasing contrast to this type of lighting unit, a number of fittings, surmounted by flambeaux glass shades containing high-wattage Osram gas-filled lamps, are erected at the base of the tower, and on the top of the theatre at the extreme left. These, viewed from a distance, create an impression of the old-time brazier.

On the front and sides of the theatre are fitted a number of massive bracket lanterns. Some of these are fixed in such positions as to form part of the symmetrical scheme with the lanterns previously referred to; other lanterns are spaced round the sides of the theatre at equidistant points, thus harmonising with the architectural features of the building.

On the front of the building the name of the theatre, CAPITOL, is displayed in daytime through the medium of box-type letters, the interior of each box is painted red and is almost covered with a ruby-coloured, non-transparent material, a space being left between the edge of the material and the letter edges. Each box contains a number of Osram sign-type lamps; when these are illuminated at night time the name of the theatre is to be seen outlined in what appears to be tubes of ruby-coloured light.

The result of flood-lighting the front of the Capitol Theatre is very effective. Twelve G.E.C. flood-lights, equipped with 500-watt Osram round-bulb projector type lamps are fitted under the canopy over the entrance to the theatre. These are specially mounted to project beams of light through the top of the canopy at correct angles over the entire front of the theatre; the title panels under the canopy are illuminated with Osram lamps fitted upon special battens.

The Main Entrance of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Main Entrance of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925.

The main entrance hall to the theatre is here illustrated (shown above). This is illuminated by means of a large number of Osram lamps. These are of the vacuum pear-shaped type of tinted (varnished) amber. The lamps are mounted on specially constructed framework to ensure even illumination of the glass panels in the ornamental ceiling fixture.

The booking-hall, reached by the stairs from the main entrance, is illuminated by two ceiling fixtures, similar in design to the one in the main entrance hall; these, however, are of smaller diameter than that in the main entrance hall, and are equipped with Osram lamps. The stairs leading to the booking-hall are illuminated with bracket fittings and Osram gas-filled lamps in suitable shades, while on the balustrade at the top of the stairs are fitted a number of these lamps in glass shades of the flambeaux type.

It is the interior of the theatre where the charm of colour is so pronounced. Here the decorative scheme of the interior is in silver and grey, the upholstering being in purple; this scheme lends itself very readily to the decorative lighting effects which are arranged throughout the whole of the theatre in four colours - purple, blue, red, and white.

The Stalls of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Stalls of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The stalls (shown above) are illuminated by one large ornamental centre fixture 9ft. in diameter, and four smaller ones located round it. These are equipped with a large number of Osram axial and Osram sign-type lamps varnished in colours. In addition, concealed round the cornice are many hundreds of GecoRay reflectors fitted with Osram lamps in the three colours, Osram striplite providing the white light.

The lighting arrangements are such that by means of switches and dimmers a charming system of colour mixing is obtained. Each colour can he switched on separately, or they can be mixed in varying quantities; the range of the latter is extensive, since more than 150 tints can be obtained. The cornice lighting is very effective, especially when the lamps in alternate GecoRay reflectors are illuminated at their full voltage. Here, light is reflected up the walls and upon the ceiling, producing the effect of coloured strips.

Under the balcony front are fitted five flush type ceiling fixtures similar in design to those fitted over the-stalls, their diameter, however, being 3 ft. 3 ins.

The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925.

Above - The Auditorium of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925.

In the auditorium (shown above) a special feature of the lighting-arrangements is the installation of two ornamental fountains, one on either side of the theatre. The basins of white are equipped with Osram lamps, both frosted and varnished, giving four-colour indirect lighting effects; the lamps are Osram Axial and Osram Sign type of 6o and 20 watts respectively. Here, again, direct or colour-mixing arrangements produce effects which enhance the beauties of the colour scheme of the theatre interior. Purple, blue, red, and white light, in ever-changing quantities, emanating from the tops of the basins and reflected from the walls and ceiling of the auditorium produce entrancing kaleidoscopic effects. The decorative features of the auditorium lighting are supplemented by the illumination of the ornamental cove immediately above the proscenium. This is illuminated by means of units formed of specially constructed battens of the compartment type fitted with gas-filled lamps; coloured diffusers provide four-coloured lighting effects.

The Boxes of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Boxes of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The boxes (shown above) are illuminated by means of special ceiling fixtures of G.E.C. manufacture, fitted with "Equiluxo" bowls. Although small, these are arranged to take 12 Osram tubular type lamps, thus allowing for three lamps per colour, which evenly illuminates the glassware. Here, as before, the colours are purple, blue, red and white.

Over the balcony and cove cornice, the ceiling is illuminated by means of cornice lighting and special ceiling- fixtures.

The cornice lighting is provided by means of special G.E.C. trough type reflectors fitted with Osram Sign type lamps in four colours; the ceiling fixtures are similar to those installed over the stalls.

The Illuminated Dome of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

Above - The Illuminated Dome of the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket - From The Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925

The dome (shown above) is illuminated by a large number of Osram lamps concealed in the base. The effect is distinctly attractive, the star-spangled dome being shown to advantage.

In the foyer the illumination is abundant and even; this is obtained through the medium of G.E.C. pendants finished in Georgian silver, with "Equiluxo" glassware equipped with gas-filled lamps; the corridors are illuminated with G.E.C. "Superlux" glassware ceiling fittings and Osram gas-filled lamps.

Below the theatre there is a large dance hall, where the lighting features are also extremely decorative. In the centre of the main ceiling is a specially constructed ceiling fixture, 6 ft. 6 ins. in diameter, fitted with glass panels which are illuminated by means of Osram tubular type 20-watt lamps in four colours; these are arranged horizontally.

Round the central fitting are fitted 24 radial glazed panels. These are illuminated by means of vacuum lamps arranged in four colours on special interior fittings. In addition, there are fitted four pendant fixtures, 5 ft. 6 ins. in diameter, and two pendant fittings. 4 ft. 6 ins. in diameter; these are fitted with special interiors arranged to take Osram Sign type and Axial type lamps in four colours.

A small but very important lighting feature of the Capitol theatre is the illumination of the floor and steps leading to the various seats: This is accomplished, in the body of the theatre, by means of Osglim lamps fitted at certain points behind diffusing glass screens recessed in the wall; the result is very effective.

In the circle, the glass and Osglim lamps are recessed into the steps, one in each step. Each glass has a letter painted upon the under side, so that persons moving up or down the steps can easily locate the row containing their seats.

The lighting scheme described was designed by the illuminating Engineering Department of the General Electric Company, Limited, Magnet House, Kingsway, W.C. 2, in collaboration with the architect, Mr. Andrew Mather, and the entire installation was carried out by Messrs. Grierson, Limited, 43, Bloomsbury Square, W.C. 1.

The above text was first published in the Cinema News and Property Gazette, February 19th, 1925.

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