THE NEIGHBOURHOOD @ EMPIRE

THE HISTORY OF LEICESTER SQUARE

Leicester Square has a rich history and has been used for a variety of purposes through the centuries. 

In the 18th century, Leicester Square was home to several fashionable gardens and pleasure grounds, and was a popular spot for public gatherings and events. In the 19th century, the square was known for its entertainment venues, including the Alhambra music hall and the Empire Theatre. It also attracted many prominent figures of the time, including Charles Dickens who lived nearby.

In the early 20th century the square underwent a significant transformation. The gardens were replaced with theatres, cinemas, and other entertainment venues and Leicester Square became an even more popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike. It continues to be a hot spot for entertainment and nightlife to this day.

During World War II, the square was heavily damaged by bombing and was not fully restored until the 1950s.

Today, Leicester Square is a major tourist attraction and is home to several cinemas, theatres, casinos, and other entertainment venues. It also houses several monuments, including statues of Charlie Chaplin and William Shakespeare. The square is a popular spot with street performers too, and is surrounded by restaurants and shops.

Overall, Leicester Square has a rich history and has played an important role in London's cultural and entertainment scene for centuries. It is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting London.

  

History of Cinema at Leicester Square

Leicester Square has a long history as a hub of film culture in London.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Leicester Square was home to several prestigious cinemas, including the London Pavilion, the Empire Theatre, and the Odeon West End. These venues were known for showing the latest Hollywood films and were popular among London's elite.

During World War II, many of the cinemas in Leicester Square were damaged or destroyed by bombing. But they were rebuilt after the war and continued to draw crowds to regular screenings and prestigious film premieres, including the first screening of the James Bond film Dr. No in 1962.

The Odeon Leicester Square, which opened in 1930 and still operates today, was one of the most famous cinemas in the area and was known for showing high-profile films. The square also hosted the London Film Festival from 1957 to 2000, which was a major event for the film industry.

Today the square is home to several cinemas and theatres, including the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, Empire Cinemas, and Cineworld. 

Famous Movie Stars at Leicester Square 

Leicester Square has been a popular spot for film premieres and has attracted many famous movie stars over the years. Some notable examples include:

Audrey Hepburn

The Hollywood icon attended the premiere of her film My Fair Lady in 1964 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Charlie Chaplin

The actor, director and producer attended the premiere of his film City Lights in 1931 at the London Pavilion.

Tom Cruise

The actor has attended several premieres in Leicester Square, including the premiere of War of the Worlds in 2005.

Brad Pitt

He attended the premiere of his film Inglourious Basterds in 2009 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Angelina Jolie

She attended the premiere of her film Maleficent in 2014 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Johnny Depp

The actor has attended several premieres in Leicester Square, including the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007.

Hugh Jackman

The actor attended the premiere of his film The Greatest Showman in 2017 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Daniel Craig

He attended the premiere of his film Spectre in 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Dwayne Johnson

The actor attended the premiere of his film Hobbs & Shaw in 2019 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Mark Ruffalo

The actor attended the premiere of his film Spotlight in 2015 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

 

History of the Empire Casino

Located in the centre of Leicester Square, the heart of the West End, the Empire Casino is a landmark destination. Designed by Thomas Verity, the Empire Theatre was established in the 1800s. The building underwent several changes before becoming the famous casino we know today. In the past it has been a cinema, a music hall, and a ballroom.

The Empire Casino opened its doors in 2007, boasting 55 sq ft of table games, a landmark Poker Room, Slots and Electronics and destination bars and restaurants including The Kings Sports Bar, Icon Balcony Bar and 7th Cat Restaurant.

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