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Glorious future for High Rd icon

PUBLISHED: 07:46 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 August 2010

Former glory: The Gaumont State as it used to be

Former glory: The Gaumont State as it used to be

by Will Davies Plans to transform an iconic building have won universal approval. The Gaumont State in Kilburn High Road could be brought back to its former glory after architects plans for its renovation were unveiled last week by its o

by Will Davies

Plans to transform an iconic building have won universal approval.

The Gaumont State in Kilburn High Road could be brought back to its former glory after architects' plans for its renovation were unveiled last week by its owners.

Subject to planning approval which will see a change of use from an entertainment venue to a place of worship, Ruach Ministries will strip away the State's bingo hall paraphernalia to reveal the building's original splendour.

The disused cinema will also have its seats pulled out to transform it into a new community centre for Kilburn.

Oliver Curry, who set up Save the Gaumont State to campaign against it being redeveloped, said: "The plans for The State look great - especially the commitment to return the building to how it was in the 1930s. I just hope that the church has the resources to see it through."

The project, which will take ten years to complete, has also been universally backed by Kilburn's politicians.

Cllr Janet Grauberg, (Lib Dem) Kilburn ward, said: "I'd never been inside the building before and I was bowled over by the size of it, and the beautiful original features. It was great to hear that the church are going to restore the building to its former glory and preserve its historic character, as well as provide community services such as a café and youth nights. No doubt there'll be issues along the way for local residents but I'm really pleased to see people prepared to invest so much money, care and attention in Kilburn." Dawn Butler, MP for Brent South, said: "The Gaumont State building has been an important architectural and cultural landmark in Kilburn for almost 70 years.

"This project will renew the legacy of this building and bring it back to the heart of the community in Brent."

When it opened in 1937 the State was the biggest auditorium in Europe and has played host to bands including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Deep Purple.

It also boasts one of the largest fully functioning Wurlitzer organs in Britain.

For 20 years the building was run as a bingo hall by Mecca, who put it up for sale in August 2007.

Read the full report when you buy the Kilburn Times on Thursday and follow further developments on this website, on Facebook by becoming a friend of Kilburn Times and on Twitter by following KilburnTimes - twitter.com/KilburnTimes

w.davies@archant.co.uk


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