Stop 9: William Friese-Greene - Daydreaming on the King’s Road

Partner Programme

16 — 24 Sept 2023


Gaumont Palace

222 King's Road




This is stop number 9 of 14 in the Design Trail 'Daydreaming on the King’s Road', a walk through time and design supported by Cadogan and King's Road Partnership.

There are many firsts and oldest in this area: oldest botanic garden (Chelsea Physic Garden, 1673), the first Starbucks in the UK (123a King’s Road, 1998) and the world’s first permanent ice rink (379 King’s Road, 1876) but there is one that is less known; the earliest recorded motion picture. It was filmed at 39 King's Road in 1891 by William Friese-Greene whose portrait can be found on the facade of Gaumont Palace which is currently under construction. In the film you can see horse drawn carriages go by while a man with a walking stick walks across the frame. Still very much an experimentation at this stage, the film nonetheless started the long development of film as an art form, and eventually, the everyday content we know today. The area has also been the location for many films since then, making an appearance on titles such as Clockwork Orange and Blow-up, as well as 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, the 1968 film in which King's Road becomes flooded with imaginary brides, the result of an imagination of the protagonist played by Dudley Moore. The building has recently undergone restoration and redevelopment to recreate a cinema fit for the future, in homage to Friese-Green and his cinematic influence. The building will also house artist and creative studios which have a long history in the area (see stop 11).