Been on a bit of a Cinema quest lately, theres so many out there! Ive recce'd a good 10 in London so far, this one is the first thats come up with the goods. Hopefully more will follow.
History stolen from Cinema Treasures
and check out some old photos hereOne of the original Odeon Theatres built for Oscar Deutsch's Odeon Theatres Ltd. The Odeon Well Hall is located in Eltham and stands on a prominent corner site at Well Hall Road and Rochester Way.
The Odeon opened on 20th May 1936 with Gene Gerrard in "Where's Sally". Designed by architect Andrew Mather, who was assisted by Horace Ward, the building externally is a stunning Art Deco style masterpiece. The entrance is located on a corner of the building and has a wrap around canopy over the single storey entrance hall. To the right is a glass tower which contains stairs leading to the circle. Buff coloured faiance tiles are on the side of the building. On the left hand side, the brick auditorium block is left exposed.
Inside the auditorium seating was provided for 1,028 in the stalls and 578 in the circle. Bands of concealed lighting in the ceiling illuminated the space, and there were porthole-like light fittings on the side-walls. The decorative treatment inside the building was the work of noted interior designers Mollo & Egan.
The Odeon was divided into a twin-screen in January 1973 with 450 seats in the original circle and a small 130 seat screen located in the rear stalls.
From 1st November 1981 the Odeon was taken over by the independent chain;Panton Films and it was re-named Coronet Cinema. The Coronet closed on 13th January 2000 and has remained closed and unused ever since. In early 2007 plans were proposed to convert the building into a childrens play area and day care centre, but these have not been approved.
The former Odeon is a Grade II Listed building.
This explore was a strange one, nothing seemed to go right first time but after a bit of persitance i got to see everything i wanted too. Upon entering i was a little dissapointed at first, the seats in the stalls had been removed and screen 2 was not much more than a pile of rubble but as i went on it got better.
Made it through the carnage of screen 2 into the main entrance hall area, a few side rooms contained nothing much of interest, one door lead off into the screen 2 projector room.
The projector room was pretty average, the projector had been removed but i later noticed it sitting in the corner of screen 2, the flim platters were still in place.
A nice staircase lead up to the circle and it was good to see the seats still intact! most were covered in asbestos sheets, but the ones in the lower circle appeared to have been spared the sheetage for some reason.
Moving up to the back of the circle a door lead through into the plant area, a battery room, generator room and something i wasnt really expecting was a mint air conditoning system with tunnels leading off to verious parts of the building.
The projector room for the main screen appeared to be accessed from the roof however the roof access had been boarded up, apparenty to stop the lead theives judging by the amount of roofing lead laying around! After much faffing i managed to get out onto the roof only to find the projector rooms boarded up too! I had an incling however that they might still be in there so i pressed on, eventually finding and open skylight. I dropped in but alas it was much the same story as the other projector room, only in 2 foot of pigeon shit. In the end i didnt bother going back for the camera!
On the way out i came across quite possibly the worst room ive ever found while exploring, there was one door i hadnt had time to check so on my way out i had a quick look, opening the door it all seemed good but i took one step into the room and started to feel myself sinking! the whole room (apparently a toilet) was full with raw sewage!! as the floor was a little lower then the rest it didnt look much different to the pigeon dropping covered mess i had been walking on for the last hour but before i knew it i was up to may ankle in it! If you go, be careful! my boots are now in the bin
Hopefully the first of many.