The oldest purpose built and continuously operated cinema in London is believed to be the Phoenix in East Finchley, north London. Built in 1910, it opened in 1912 and has known several incarnations including as the East Finchley Picturedrome, the Coliseum, the Rex and the Phoenix. It was one of the first theatres in the UK to introduce pictures with sound (it did so in 1929). The theatre, which has appeared in several movies including The End Of The Affair, recently reopened following a £1.1 million restoration. There’s a touring exhibition of the cinema’s history (follow this link to find out where you can see it). Other contenders for the oldest cinema in London include the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road, Notting Hill, which opened in 1911.

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