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Report - Doncaster Gaumont / Odeon. May 2009

Discussion in 'Theatres and Cinemas' started by Converse1, May 12, 2009.

  1. Converse1

    Converse1 Guest
    Guest

    Doncaster Gaumont / Odeon.

    Yep another one! :D

    Following on from a couple of excellent reports by Dweeb and Dempsey I made the trip to have a look at this place, it's had a bit of a battering but is still in remarkably good condition.

    Potted history, Thanks to Cinema Treasures

    The Gaumont Palace Theatre in Hallgate, Doncaster opened on 3 September 1934, having been designed by W. E. Trent and W. Sydney Trent. It had 2,020 seats and a full stage 67 feet wide, a fly-tower and 11 dressing rooms. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/10Rank organ, with an illuminated console on a lift. There was also a large cafe/restaurant.

    The Art Deco auditorium was extremely elegant with panelled walls, a curvaceous ceiling with lighting troughs, and a noted painted safety curtain by artist Frank Barnes, depicting the railway industry prevalent in the town. During the late 1960's and throughout the 1960's the Gaumont staged many 'pop' concerts, including, Buddy Holly, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Although it was modernised in 1964, there is much of the original still remaining.

    It became the Odeon, one of the last Gaumonts to lose its name, in 1987. This was long after the theatre had been tripled in 1973, with two mini-cinemas under the balcony (seating 144 each) and the main screen with a still impressive 1,003 seats in the former circle and front stalls. This was to retain the use of the large stage.

    In 2007 seating had been reduced to 975 in screen 1, although screens 2 (159 seats) and screen 3 (161 seats) have had a few extra squeezed in.

    The Odeon was closed on 10th April 2008 with the final film screened being Sean Faris in "Never Back Down". It has been sold to a local company Lazarus Properties, who specialize in town centre re-developments. They had no plans for use of the building at the time of closure, but in February 2009, plans were proposed to demolish and build a casino.

    Pictures:

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    As it was shortly after opening.

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    And today. Why would you cover up that lovely frontage; wonder if it's still there? More on that later!

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    Onto the stage.

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    Fly rail and strand flood light.

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    Looking up to the grid.

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    The Grand Master, not quite an Avolites Diamond, but cutting edge during it's day.

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    Detail

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    What not to do.

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    Then up to the fly floor.

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    Cleat

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    Cradles

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    From the circle.

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    From the stage, ceiling view.

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    The theatre had a 'drop wall' conversion and this was one of the mini's under the circle.

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    And this is the other one.

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    One of the small projection rooms.

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    The main lobby,

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    Up to the circle.

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    The main projection room.

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    Strand follow spot.

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    The Cinemation control console, This beauty would have controlled everything in the building from putting the heating on to starting the projectors!

    [​IMG]
    Behind the top frontage of the cinema.

    It was at his point I wondered if the freeze work was behind the blue cladding, so I went for a closer look. it was a tight squeeze and I had to be creative and reach over a ledge, but I got this shot:

    [​IMG]

    And then this one!

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    And finally this one.
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    So YES the original frontage does survive.

    It was then time to go via the circle bar area.

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    More original features survive.

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    Some goon had tried to burn the place down. :mad:

    Thanks for looking. :)
     
    #1 Converse1, May 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2009

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