I'm a new member to the urban exploration fold but seeing the thread that was posted about the York Odeon I thought people might be interested in the photo's I took in June this year.
I was a founder member of the campaign to keep the cinema open when Odeon announced it was assessing the place for its 'economic viability' in 2003. The campaign attracted a huge amount of support but sadly as Odeon seem intent on getting rid of a lot of their iconic older properties it finally closed on 31st August 2006.
The cinema opened in February 1937 with the film 'The Man who could Work Miracles' and was designed by Robert Bullivant of the Harry Weedon Partnership. Planning restrictions at the time meant the only way York could have an Odeon was if it didn't look like an Odeon IE - the usual cream faience tiling so the design was executed in brick. The only other similar property was in Chester which sadly was also closed by Odeon this year. The York cinema also retains the last facade sign of its type in the UK although this is likely to be removed now that the buildings lease has been taken on by 'Reel Cinemas' who are planning a sympathetic restoration. refurbishment sometime next year.
The cinema was tripled in June 1972 with a Â£30,000 eight week programme and was open for business throughout. Luckily a lot of the interior does survive, some on view, whilst others hidden, including a mural of historical figures and a 1930's film crew, which has been hidden for over 40 years. It was listed in 1981 and is York's best example of 20th century art deco architecture.
I was given an hour long visit in June by kind permission of the selling agents, so enjoy.
The beautiful streamline brick exterior and original facade sign
Downstairs box office area and concession stand. Stripped by Odeon after closure
Main Entrance doors. The foyer areas are carpeted throughout with the 80's house style carpet
The main staircase to the former balcony foyer, now Screen 1.
One of the rather pokey smaller screens, created under the balcony.
Former Balcony foyer, now entrance to Screen 1. Above the false ceiling survives the mural and possibly the original large
art deco trough light fitting.
Door detail. Nearly all the internal doors are the original deco porthole design, another standard Odeon
Screen 1. This was really the only screen to see a film if you went to this cinema. Initial plans by Reel are to make this area into 2 auditoria! This still used to sell out for the big releases though. Original wall detailing.
Side wall detailing. The boxed over area, one on each side of the auditoria conceal the original ventilation grilles with deco detailing matching that in the ceiling.
Former front stalls area with boxed in pit rail and front of stage.
Older seating survives to the rear of the auditorium along with another Odeon house style of carpeting.
Right hand side of auditorium.
Entrance to Screen 1 projection box. All doors on this level are the lovely wooden originals.
Screen 1 projection box.
Screen 1 Proscenium. Note slashed screem, courtesy of York's scrote element who managed to get in by pulling
some of the boarding away from the front doors and smashing their way in. Luckily the building was secured again within 48 hours.
Railing and skirting detail. Screen 1 vomitory stairway.
Mainstaircase detailing. Scored into the plasterwork are bands which travel round the whole wall area and were originally painted in red and gold stripes.
Last edited by cinema salvager; December 23rd, 2007 at 19:05.
Reason: correcting caption spellings.
Re: Odeon Cinema, Blossom Street, York - REPORT (Pics from 28/6/07)
Thanks for the complimentary messages
I have a great love of cinema architecture and this is the building that started it all. Remember seeing my first film there at the tender age of 5 (Ahh) a small sci-fi film by the name of Star Wars!
Remember having Screen 1 to myself for a tea-time showing of the Abyss, when I should have been at college. It has the atmos of a proper place to see a film, not the sheds that populate the industrial estates of most towns. Sadly money was never pumped into the York site and when they were refused permission to scrap the old sign, and put up one of those nasty shiny ones,it was the beginning of the end.
However new owners 'Reel' seem to have an interest in these older properties so lets hope the refurb is a good one and respects what still survives.
The original colour scheme was red,black and gold on a cream background and coloured lighting in green, red and white in the ceiling and proscenium coving bathed the ceiling and walls. It must have been quite spectacular. Paint and lighting are easy to reinstate so the possibility is there to revive it.