HMV Forum is one of London’s major live entertainment venues. It is located in Kentish Town, North London and is one of the UK’s best-preserved original theatres.
The Forum was originally built as an art deco cinema in 1934 by Herbert Yapp, a cinema magnate who also owned the Forum cinemas in Ealing and Fulham. The architect was J. Stanley Beard and the interior design was by his partner W.R. Bennett.
It had a 35 foot tall proscenium (the part of the stage between the front of the curtain and the orchestra pit) and a 25 foot deep stage. It had six dressing rooms, a Compton organ and a safety curtain weighing 5 tons. It seated 2,175 in stalls and a single balcony. The first floor accommodated a large tea room and dance hall where tea dances took place; there was even a cosmetics room for the lady patrons.
The Forum was launched with a grand opening ceremony of music and films, conducted by the star Sydney Howard, on 17th December 1934.
It was taken over in March 1935 by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) along with the other Forum cinemas but it didn’t change its’ name to the ABC until 1963, 28 years later.
The ABC cinema closed in 1970 and became first a bingo hall and then a dance hall. In the 1980’s the name was changed to The Town & Country Club and it became a music venue. It became one of the must-play venues on the indie circuit for up and coming bands as well as established ones. Throughout the late ‘80’s, bands that played there included The Velvet Underground, Pixies, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and The Wedding Present.
The venue was bought in 1993 by The Mean Fiddler Music Group (now called Festival Republic) and was returned to its original name the London Forum. It also became a Grade II Listed building.
In 2007, The Forum was purchased by the MAMA Group, a UK based entertainment company who own a number of music venues and festivals (see www.meanfiddler.com), artist management companies and other music-related businesses such as the UK’s most widely circulated music magazine, The Fly.
Mama Group spent £1.5 million refurbishing it. It still has standing downstairs but now boasts a fully seated option as well as a new pa and light system. The refurbishment also created a new bar and increased the capacity to 2350.
On 14 January 2009, it was announced that MAMA Group had entered into a joint venture with HMV to jointly run 11 live music venues across the UK, including the Kentish Town Forum, the Hammersmith Apollo and the Jazz Cafe . Hence, the venue is now known as the HMV Forum.
Despite the changes made to the name and the venue, it has remained one of most well-known places to play in London and continues to host some of the most popular acts in music.
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Address: HMV Forum
9 - 17 Highgate Road,
The last Northbound tube is at 23:55pm.
If you are attending an event on a Sunday, please note that the last Southbound tube leaving Kentish Town is at 23:25pm.
Overground / Mainline Stations: Kentish Town National Rail Station. It is accessed through the Underground station. It is part of the Thameslink route with trains to Luton. St Pancras International, London Bridge, Sutton and Wimbledon.
Kentish Town West Station is on Prince of Wales Road and is part of the London Overground network, with direct services to Stratford and Richmond.
Buses: C2 – Oxford Circus to Parliament Hill Fields 214 – Liverpool St Station to Highgate Village 134 – Tottenham Court Road to North Finchley
Night buses: N134, N20 – Barnet to Trafalgar Square For the latest London travel information text TFL to 60835
Free parking is located in Regis Road after 6.30pm. Please do not park in the UPS car park. Regis Road is located on the first left after Kentish Town Tube Station heading towards Highgate.
There is also free parking at Carkers Lane after 6.30pm. Turn right at the Grand Union Pub/LA Fitness going towards Camden – please use the upper deck for parking.
We advise patrons to contact the venue via our general enquiries form or telephone on 020 7428 4080 to check availability before purchasing a ticket through any of our official ticket agents. Due to Licensing and Health & Safety Assessments, we regret the number of wheelchairs that we can admit to the building is limited and we must treat all patrons on a first come first served basis. Once the venue has confirmed availability you can purchase a ticket through our event listings page or by phoning 020 7428 4099 and the venue will arrange for a free companion ticket to be available for patrons who are registered disabled.
Although it was built in the 1930’s, the building has been modernised to allow wheelchair access via front of house to the Disabled Platform in the downstairs standing area (please note there is no direct backstage disabled access).
On the evening of the event, we advise disabled customers to arrive at the venue 15 minutes prior to the doors opening, ideally accompanied by a companion over 18 years of age who will be admitted free of charge. The free companion ticket is available to customers that are registered disabled. The paid-for ticket needs to be booked in advance. Please contact us via our general enquiries form or phone 020 7428 4099 for specific requests, enquiries or comments regarding access/personal needs and a member of our team will endeavour to accommodate your requirements.
Where can I park using my blue badge?
Map: Input postcode NW5 1JY here
The blue badge permit is available to people with a specific disability or impairment. Parts of the Borough of Camden, of which Kentish Town is part, have their own guidelines on use of the blue badge due to acute traffic and parking pressures with fewer parking spaces available than other areas. The areas do offer their own schemes and have agreed that if a blue badge holder parks in a pay-and-display bay or meter bay they will get one hour’s free parking added to the time for which payment has been made, provided that the minimum payment required for that particular bay has been made.
Camden’s alternate scheme is described in the green badge scheme section.
Blue badge holders may park without charge or time limit in:
blue badge parking bays (including those within the green badge area);
residents’ parking bays (except in the green badge area);
parking meters and pay-and-display bays, including out of order meters (except in the green badge area);
and designated disabled parking spaces and areas reserved for blue badge holders only.
Blue badge holders may park for up to three hours on a single or double yellow line (providing that the clock is also on display) except:
where there is a loading ban in operation;
in the green badge area;
and in the other central London Boroughs.
Holders may not park in:
dedicated disabled bays
traders’ bays business bays
taxi stand bays
motorcycle bays hospital bays
Green badge permits The green badge scheme runs in conjunction with blue badge permits, click here for more information If you have a blue badge you can still park in the green badge zone, but only in the blue badge parking bays, or in shared use loading/disabled bays (between 6.30pm and 8.30am daily and all day Sunday).
If you hold both a green and blue badge you can also park in green badge bays and shared use loading/disabled bays, as well as residents’, metered and pay-and-display bays, provided they are not suspended (http://www.camden.gov.uk/parkingbaysuspensions/).