Carlton Cinema

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The Carlton Cinema, along with the Majestic Cinema (both in Tottenham Court Road, at Numbers 30 and 36 respectively)[1] had the worst reputation for men 'importuning' in London at the beginning of the twentieth century. The crowded dark gangways offered opportunities for men to meet close-up.

"the chief immorality... Goes on in the queues adjacent the wall inside... A lad or young fellow standing sideways against the wall would place his linked hands behind him with his figures turned outwards... Over and over again men would come to such lads, generally with a mackintosh or overcoat on their arm thus screening their actual movements.

It is for this very reason that lighting was introduced in cinemas, running down the gangways. The London County Council (LCC) expanded their regulation of cinemas by requiring "shaded lights along the side so audiences could see each other".

Other West End cinemas where men would have sex included the Cyril, Cinema de Paris, Cupid (Leicester Square), the Paper (Cambridge Circus), Gaiety (Tottenham Court Road), Arena (Villiers Street), and Super (Charing Cross Road).

The Classic Cinema, now the Odeon, Tottenham Court Road, was built in 1981 on part of the space previously occupied by the Carlton and Majestic.[2]

See also



Matt Houlbrook, Queer London

  1. London Gazette, 11 March 1941, under "Appointments of Trustees, JACOBS, Benjamin"