Odeon

Odeon Kensington

The Odeon Kensington started out life in 1926 as The Kensington and then renamed the Majestic in 1940 (in case German parachutists dropped in and used it to identify where they were) Its then-revolutionary architecture - a smart, portal-like opening, designed by Julian Randolph Leathart and W.F. Granger (the first of their four cinemas for Joseph Mears' small London circuit) was a deliberate attempt to move away from the fairground origins of cinema and give cinemagoing a new respectability.

Odeon Kensington 2006 - front
Odeon Kensington 2006 - front and side
Odeon Kensington 2006 - front detail
Odeon Kensington 2006 - side detail
Odeon Kensington 2006 - front detail

Odeon Guildford

The Odeon Guildford was a relatively plain brick building, built into the hillside at the top end of the High Street. It had illuminated classical-style friezes by Joseph Hermon Cawtha above the main entrance - a design theme echoed within the auditorium. The friezes had a rather playful quality about them: rather than showing actual classical scenes, for example, one showed a saxophonist with a couple dancing. Originally, the brickwork was patterned and there was ornate patterning in the four vertical recesses of the front facade: the impact of this faded over time.

Odeon Guildford - Joseph Hermon Cawthra bas-relief 1
Odeon Guildford - Joseph Hermon Cawthra bas-relief 2
Odeon Guildford - Joseph Hermon Cawthra bas-relief 3
Odeon Guildford - Joseph Hermon Cawthra bas-relief 4

Reel Cinemas York

The Odeon York opened on 1st February 1937 with a single screen seating 1,484. It was tripled in 1972, more sensitively than Odeon often managed but in the usual Odeon pattern, with one large screen in an extended circle and two much smaller screens below.

Odeon York 2006 - exterior
Odeon York 2006 - exterior
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (detail including sign)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (detail including sign)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (detail showing rounded corner and original logo)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (detail showing rounded corner and original logo)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (rear)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (rear)
Odeon York 2006 - exterior (rear)

Odeon Weston-super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare's Odeon cinema, designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt, is a stunning landmark building in a starkly beautiful modernist style with a tower typical of vintage Odeon buildings, tiled in a striking cream faiance. Opened in 1935, it was tripled in 1973 in the usual Odeon style (main screen in circle and front stalls; two smaller screens beneath the circle). A fourth screen was added in 1991 by splitting screen 1, achieved by dropping a new wall at the front of the circle; the original proscenium and front stalls (and gents toilets!) are therefore still in use.

Odeon Weston-super-Mare 2006 - exterior
Odeon Weston-super-Mare 2006 - exterior
Odeon Weston-super-Mare 2006 - exterior (detail)

Odeon Salisbury

Surely one of the most remarkable and outright spectacular cinemas in the country, the Odeon Salisbury shows both what can be achieved in cinema design and what twenty-first century audiences are missing in their modern picture palaces.

Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (front)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (front)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (front detail)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (front detail)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - interior - original ticket hall and box office, now disused
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (rear)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (rear detail)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - exterior (rear detail)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - interior (current ticket hall and box office)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - interior (current ticket hall and box office)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - interior (current ticket hall and box office)
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - historical information displayed in ticket hall, dated 1931 and signed by the architect William Trent
Odeon Salisbury 2006 - plaque presented by Rank Leisure Services

Odeon Gloucester

The Gloucester Odeon was the surviving half of a Rank-owned double-act in Eastgate Street; during rationalisation in 1961, the nearby Gaumont (formerly the Hippodrome) was closed down and demolished three years later. Starting off life in 1935 as the Plaza, owned by the Poole circuit (which explains the lack of the distinctive Odeon architectural features) the cinema itself was so commercially disastrous by the 1970s that rather than triple it (or make it seven-way, as in nearby Cheltenham), Rank applied to turn it into a bingo hall, which it remains today.

Odeon Gloucester 2006 - front
Odeon Gloucester 2006 - front
Odeon Gloucester 2006 - front

Odeon Exeter

The Odeon Exeter opened on 30th August 1937, seating 1,900. In 1942, it suffered minor bomb damage in a raid that destroyed much of central Exeter, but was later repaired and restored. The cinema was tripled in 1972 in the standard Odeon pattern (main screen in circle / disused front stalls; smaller screens beneath the circle). Like the Odeon Weston-super-Mare, a fourth screen was added in the former front stalls in 1988.

Odeon Exeter 2006 - front and side
Odeon Exeter 2006 - front
Odeon Exeter 2006 - front and side

Odeon Cheltenham

The building was completely demolished in August 2014. The remainder of this article was written during the eight years that it lay derelict.

Odeon Cheltenham 2006 - front before closure
Odeon Cheltenham 2006 - front before closure