The high tower of the State still dominates the Kilburn High Road and surrounding area. Designed by architect George Coles it was opened by Gaumont on 20th December 1937 with a host of stars in attendance, including Gracie Fields, George Formby, Vic Oliver, Henry Hall and Larry Adler. With a seating capacity of 4004 - 1356 of them in the balcony - it was the biggest cinema ever opened in England and was furnished with a lavish interior in Renaissance style. It had a 100 ft by 50 ft stage, now removed, and a Wurlitzer organ, which still remains and is often played.
The cinema closed temporarily in 1940, then again in 1960 to allow the construction of a ballroom in the stalls. A second screen was added in 1975, while the rest of the cinema closed to be converted into a bingo hall. I visited this cinema around 1980 to see Ridley Scott's Alien; disappointingly the sound system was so poor it was virtually impossible to follow the dialogue. The cinema closed in 1990 and the building is now run as a bingo hall, with most of the original architectural features happily intact.