Art Deco cinema saved from conversion into a hotel

A former theatre turned cinema in the West End has been saved from conversion into a hotel after Camden council rejected an appeal from the developer.

What is today the Odeon Covent Garden was originally opened in 1931 as the Saville Theatre and is particularly notable for the stone frieze that runs around the building and the grand arched entrance decoration sitting in s solid wall of rusticated brickwork.

The frieze by Gilbert Bayes depicts Drama through the Ages, and is considered to be one of the most important works of art of this type of that era.

Although opened in the 1930s as a theatre, in 1965, Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles leased it to put on both plays and music concerts — some of which were rather notorious. After Epstein’s death the theatre was sold to ABC and converted into two cinemas, and in 2001, was taken over by Odeon and is now a four-screen venue.

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