London's oldest cinema The Phoenix re-opening

Phoenix Cinema The Phoenix is approaching its 100th birthday

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London's oldest continuously operated cinema has re-opened following a £1.1m restoration.

The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, north London, will shortly be celebrating its 100th birthday. It operated throughout World War II.

Celebrities including Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Maureen Lipman, Michael Palin and Victoria Wood helped raised funds.

The cinema has itself featured in films including Interview With A Vampire and The End of the Affair.

Fan Mark Kermode, the BBC film critic, said the venue "always made me happy".

"I've had so many good times here and it's so great that it's thriving," he said.

"It's the place where I learnt what I know about films."

'Huge challenge'

The money paid for the refurbishment of the cinema's grade II listed interior and Edwardian barrel ceiling.

It was also partly funded by a lottery grant.

Paul Homer, chief executive of The Phoenix Cinema Trust and principal fundraiser, said: "It was a huge challenge to raise the £1.1m needed to carry out the extensive repairs.

"But it was well worth the massive fundraising effort and disruption.

"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate 100 years of The Phoenix than to provide it with a facelift to see it into the next phase of its development."

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