Home Page
The Music Hall and Theatre History Website

Home - Index - New - Maps - Contact



 

A Tour of the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, Friday 10th of December 1937 - With images from a tour of the Theatre in April 2009

A Tour of the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, Friday 10th of December 1937

 

PUBLIC INSPECTION - - GAUMONT STATE KILBURN

The exterior of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009, showing the tower where the broadcasting studio was housed - Photo M.L.For your information the Directors have prepared a brief description of the various departments you will see on your tour of inspection of Europe's latest and greatest theatre.

A Tour of the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, Friday 10th of December 1937

It must not be thought, however, that every section of the theatre can be visited, as there are many other departments, such as the staff rest rooms, dining rooms, sports room, miniature hospital, administrative offices, boiler rooms, artistes' dressing rooms, Directors' board room, etc., which are not easily accessible. The departments visited will be as follows:

ORDER OF ROUTE:—

BROADCASTING STUDIO

For the first time in the history of the theatre, a special Broadcasting Studio, approved by the B.B C. has been incorporated. Van Dam and his "State" Orchestra will broadcast regularly from the tower which is 100 feet high.

Above Right - The exterior of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009, showing the tower where the broadcasting studio was housed - Photo M.L.

MARBLE HALL

Chosen from many designs submitted by the architect, as the most imposing entrance to Europe's Luxury Cinema. A point of interest is, that the Candelabra hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a replica of the one in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, and contains no less than 125 lamps.

 

The imposing entrance hall of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'The Candelabra hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a replica of the one in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, and contains no less than 125 lamps.'

Above - The imposing entrance hall of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'The Candelabra hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a replica of the one in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, and contains no less than 125 lamps.'

 

FRONT STALLS FEED

This has been built for the convenience of both the seated patrons, and those wishing to obtain seats. It is arranged so that the waiting patron is passed, in turn, into the theatre at a point nearest the available seats, thereby causing no obstruction to the view of those already seated. It was our wish that all patrons, irrespective of the price they were paying for admission, would pass through the same grand vestibule.

The imposing entrance hall of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'It was our wish that all patrons, irrespective of the price they were paying for admission, would pass through the same grand vestibule.'

Above - The imposing entrance hall of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'It was our wish that all patrons, irrespective of the price they were paying for admission, would pass through the same grand vestibule.'

AUDITORIUM

The vastness of this huge space is well appreciated from this viewpoint, but at the same time the decoration has been so subtley proportioned as to create a feeling of intimacy. The huge span of roof area being entirely unsupported by pillars or any other obstruction to the view, also the immense circle with its huge seating capacity jutting out over the stalls without any obvious support.

The Stalls of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'The immense circle with its huge seating capacity jutting out over the stalls without any obvious support.'

Above - The Stalls of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'The immense circle with its huge seating capacity jutting out over the stalls without any obvious support.'

The Wurlitzer organ of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'We would draw your attention to the interior decorations, especially the grills of the organ chambers.'The auditorium has been designed for the best acoustic results, and the latest ventilation devices will keep it clear but draught free. We would draw your attention to the interior decorations, especially the grills of the organ chambers, and the electric light fittings. Comfort for all the patrons has visibly been studied by the class of seat provided. The 6d patron has the same comfortable armchair as the 3, 6 patron. Our Wurlitzer organ, specially designed for the Gaumont State by Quentin Maclean, is the only one of its kind in the world. You will notice that 'Torch' our famous solo organist, can, in addition to raising and lowering the organ console, also turn same to enable him to face his audience.

Right - The Wurlitzer organ of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'We would draw your attention to the interior decorations, especially the grills of the organ chambers.'

DRESSING ROOMS

One of the Dressing Rooms of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M.L.

Above - One of the Dressing Rooms of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M.L.

These are designed to give comfort to the artiste and ensure the happiness which he will exude to our audiences. You will note that shower baths are provided for the artistes.

SCENIC STUDIO

Here all the stage settings will be designed and made. Firstly in miniature, to be seen and lighted in our model theatre, and then later, full size for the immense 'State' stage.

The Kilburn State's original Workshop is still in place upstage left across the car park from the dock door - Photos courtesy Mark Price. The Kilburn State's original Workshop is still in place upstage left across the car park from the dock door - Photos courtesy Mark Price.

Above - The Kilburn State's original Workshop is still in place upstage left across the car park from the dock door - Photos courtesy Mark Price - 'Here all the stage settings will be designed and made.'

PROPERTY ROOM

Here are stored all the "props" so essential to "dress" the stage. A bedroom suite or a Policeman's whistle can be obtained at a minute's notice.

STAGE

This is one of the biggest in the country, backed by a cyclorama wall of huge dimensions size 85' x 40' and cut off from the auditorium by a safety curtain (the largest in Europe) weighing 18 tons and measuring 65' x 45' .

The Stage of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'This is one of the biggest in the country, backed by a cyclorama wall of huge dimensions size 85' x 40'

Above - The Stage of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - 'This is one of the biggest in the country, backed by a cyclorama wall of huge dimensions size 85' x 40'

The stage is fitted with 25 microphones that appear and disappear at will, automatic flaps that cover the organ pit and footlights, and the orchestra lift rising to stage level, thereby increasing the size of the stage to 60' deep x 100' wide. A portable revolving stage is embodied for special scenic effects.

The portable revolving stage of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in 1937 - From the Gala opening night Programme.

Above - The portable revolving stage of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in 1937 - From the Gala opening night Programme.

The Strand Electric Grand Master Lighting Control stll in position in the Stage Left Wing of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L.Special note must be made of the 5 revolving light battens, which are operated from the switchboard, each of its four sides contains 100% of its own colour mediums, the old type of batten could only use 25% of its light on each of its four colours. The intricate switchboard is a marvel of ingenuity, being capable of operation by one engineer, even though 250 circuits and vast outputs of currents are controlled by it.

Left - The Strand Electric Grand Master Lighting Control stll in position in the Stage Left Wing of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'The intricate switchboard is a marvel of ingenuity, being capable of operation by one engineer, even though 250 circuits and vast outputs of currents are controlled by it.'

The ropes and counterweights in the stage left fly floor of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'The counterweights (of which there are 40 sets) the technical term for the apparatus controlling and raising and lowering of the stage draperies and scenery.'The counterweights (of which there are 40 sets) the technical term for the apparatus controlling and raising and lowering of the stage draperies and scenery, are controlled by one man. By the releasing of a lever he can manoeuvre several hundredweights of draperies into position.

Right - The ropes and counterweights in the stage left fly floor of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'The counterweights (of which there are 40 sets) the technical term for the apparatus controlling and raising and lowering of the stage draperies and scenery.'

The revolving towers, an invention of our own technicians, are a new feature to stage lighting.

The stage manager's panel brings into one unit, for the first time, the entire control of all the mechanical and electrical equipment of the stage.

INNER FOYER

This commodious space is in keeping with the vastness of the theatre and serves as a comfortable rendezvous for you and your friends.

The Inner Foyer of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'This commodious space is in keeping with the vastness of the theatre and serves as a comfortable rendezvous for you and your friends.

Above - The Inner Foyer of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'This commodious space is in keeping with the vastness of the theatre and serves as a comfortable rendezvous for you and your friends.

WAITING SPACE

This has been incorporated to avoid, if possible, the queuing of our patrons in inclement weather. We can accommodate sufficient persons inside the theatre in perfect comfort, away from the rain, fog and cold winds, to fill the entire theatre.

CIRCLE LOUNGE

Here is a delightfully decorated and tastefully furnished lounge where patrons may rest or wait to meet their friends. For the ladies there is at hand our "COSMETIC PARLOUR" which we know will meet with feminine approval. One could not choose a more convenient spot to meet your Boy or Girl friend to keep that Luncheon or Tea date with the State Restaurant at hand. For the future make this lounge YOUR RENDEZVOUS. Please note the iced water fountains for patrons, which are always at your service.

The Circle Lounge of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'Here is a delightfully decorated and tastefully furnished lounge where patrons may rest or wait to meet their friends.'

Above - The Circle Lounge of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'Here is a delightfully decorated and tastefully furnished lounge where patrons may rest or wait to meet their friends.'

CIRCLE

This vast array of comfortable seats with its fine view of Stage and Screen will supply that relaxation in comfort sought by so many visitors to the Theatre. Situated herein is the 'nerve centre' of the Theatre viz : the "Control Panel" where one man controls the output of the microphones, the volume of sound from the films, the lighting on the stage, and is also in direct communication with the technicians in all parts of the Theatre by means of Loud-speakers.

The Circle of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'This vast array of comfortable seats with its fine view of Stage and Screen will supply that relaxation in comfort sought by so many visitors to the Theatre.'

Above - The Circle of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'This vast array of comfortable seats with its fine view of Stage and Screen will supply that relaxation in comfort sought by so many visitors to the Theatre.'

BATTERY ROOM

Here are housed the accumulators for our emergency lighting. These protect us from a complete black-out if the main supply from the Power Station, should for any cause fail. These batteries can supply sufficient current to illuminate the theatre for some hours.

RECTIFYING ROOM

The immense valves contained herein are used to rectify the alternating current supply and convert it into direct current at the voltage required, for projecting the films. These valves pass enough current to supply the light and power to a small Town.

The Rectifying Room at the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L.One of the Valves in the Rectifying Room at the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Rectifying Room and one of the Valves at the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'The immense valves contained herein are used to rectify the alternating current supply and convert it into direct current at the voltage required, for projecting the films. These valves pass enough current to supply the light and power to a small Town.'

 

OPERATING BOX

This is undoubtedly the last word in Projection Rooms (as they are now called). It is one mass of intricate mechanism which juggles with "sound" and "light" waves in an amazing manner. In this room are the film projectors, the Brenograph effects machine, which projects those delightful scenic effects that you will see during our Organ interludes, also the apparatus for the playing of records to be heard in various parts of the building. By a glance at the various machinery you will realise the necessity of the present day operator being super-projectionist. It will be noted that the wireless set installed will be used for relaying items that are broadcast, which may be of universal interest.

The Projection Room of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L.

Above - The Projection Room of the Gaumont State, Kilburn in April 2009 - Photo M. L. - 'This is undoubtedly the last word in Projection Rooms (as they are now called). It is one mass of intricate mechanism which juggles with "sound" and "light" waves in an amazing manner. In this room are the film projectors, the Brenograph effects machine, which projects those delightful scenic effects that you will see during our Organ interludes, also the apparatus for the playing of records to be heard in various parts of the building.'

A Tour of the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn, Friday 10th of December 1937 PLENUM PLANT

This chamber should prove of vital interest to the Patron, as it is here that the air is conditioned before being passed into the theatre for inhalation. Outside air is brought into this machine, is thoroughly filtered, washed and heated to the correct temperature required and then pumped into the theatre. Incidentally this is the largest plant of its kind in Europe. The air duct through which the air is pumped into the theatre is large enough to allow a large car to be driven through. This plant deals with 225 tons of fresh air per hour and requires 120 h.p. for its operation. The heat for warming the fresh air and radiators throughout the building is generated in the boiler house below the waiting space by three large boilers, which are automatically fed and stoked, and have a heating capacity of 12 million B.T.U.'s per hour or sufficient to boil 7400 gallons of water per hour.

RESTAURANT

This splendid Restaurant is a fitting place to finish this brief tour of the "STATE" theatre. You can obtain all meals and refreshments at very reasonable prices here, so make a habit of dining at the "State." The centre portion of the cafe is provided with a maple dance floor that can be uncovered for dancing.

 

The Gaumont State Restaurant in 1937 - From the Gala opening night Programme.

Above - The Gaumont State Restaurant in 1937 - From the Gala opening night Programme.

 

THE TOUR concluded we hope that the wonders you have seen have proved of interest to you so "Au Revoir" and may we meet again soon and frequently. Remember we run continuously from noon till midnight and have a complete change of programme on Sundays so here is hoping we shall be deserving of your company twice every week.

 

The above text is from the original 'Tour of the Theatre Programme' for the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn on the 10th of December 1937 - Recent Photographs of the building by M.L. April 2009 - Some B&W Inages - From the 1937 Gala opening night Programme. - (C) The Arthur Lloyd Archive 2009.

Click here to see the Opening Night Souvenir Programme for the Gaumont State Theatre, Kilburn.
Click here to see tickets for the opening of the Gaumont State on December 20th 1937.
Click here to Return to the Gaumont State, Kilburn's main Page on this site.

 

You may find the following pages from this site of interest: