Report - - Bradford Odeon Feb 2011 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bradford Odeon Feb 2011



Visited with Host and Hidden Shadow

I was a cinema virgin until this explore,a really good mooch.
Apart from me smashing my d5000 and trashing a 18-55mm lens and loosing my Frank mask, a good day was had.After Bradford we drove to Sheffield to meet up with Dhl,Vw and about 10 other people to do the collage(no report wasnt worth it ) but was a good laugh...


for complete history please use this link ... http://www.kingsdr.demon.co.uk/cinemas/newvic.htm


Whilst in use, the Odeon building served Bradford well for seventy wonderful years...


Its beginnings in September 1930 as the New Victoria theatre/cinema saw the birth of a grand entertainment complex of superior architectural quality - internal and external - in the city. Housed within the two million bricks and white tile exterior was a huge 3,300+ capacity auditorium boasting exceptional acoustic capabilities and lavish interior decoration, including a spectacular ceiling dome. Alongside the Thornton Road side there was a separate wing containing a beautifully ornate ballroom above a stylish restaurant. At the time of its opening, the "New Vic" was the third largest cinema in the country!




The Gaumont-era that followed in 1950 was particularly exciting as that was when the biggest worldwide stars in music came to Bradford to perform on the vast stage of the North's largest concert venue time and time again. During the 50's and 60's over 3,300 punters would come to pack out the massive auditorium to witness performances by contemporary pop idols (Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, The Everley Brothers etc) and rock 'n' roll legends (Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones to name but a few...). Up and coming stars plus local bands were granted the privilege of performing in the ballroom!

jumped on the band wagon with this shot




However, these golden years of Bradford's musical heritage ended in 1968. The Gaumont's primary purpose was as a functioning movie theatre, but across the country cinema audiences had dwindled considerably in recent years thanks to television. The Rank cinema organisation responded to this dip in box office takings by introducing the modern and fashionable concept of "twinning" their huge auditoriums into two smaller cinemas and incorporating the increasingly popular bingo... And so the Gaumont closed its doors in November 1968 and re-opened as the Odeon in August 1969 .




The upper circle level of the original auditorium was divided into two new cinemas, housed within concrete boxes - the 467 seater Odeon 1 and the mammoth 1,207 capacity Odeon 2 at its side. Below the cinemas a Top Rank bingo hall was placed in the original theatre stalls area.



It was common place to see huge crowds stretching all the way around the building queuing to see 1970's blockbusters like Star Wars or Grease... To further increase the choice of film entertainment, the former ballroom was converted into the smaller 244 seater Odeon 3 in the late 1980's.



However, with video recorders becoming more affordable during the early 1980's, the added option of "home entertainment" film rental had an eventual knock on effect on cinema audiences in the same way that television had some twenty years earlier. Also the funkier American-style multiplex cinemas in the neighbouring districts with greater film choice were more appealing to younger audiences. As a result it was not unusual for the loyal Odeon patrons to be sprinkled sparingly within an empty cinema, even when " box office smashes" were screened in the late 1990's. When it was announced that a 13 screen Odeon complex would be constructed at Thornbury, the end was in sadly in sight for the city centre cinema, which eventually closed its doors in July 2000.





Following the Odeon's closure there were initial plans for a huge nightclub within the existing building with a glass dance floor above a lit-up Bradford beck, but these sank without trace. The Odeon was sold to a developer interested in building a brand new casino complex and planning permission for demolition was granted in 2001 by the council. However, these plans were quickly abandoned by the owners of the building and the building was put back on the market...

Yorkshire Forward purchased the Odeon in 2003 for the newly formed Bradford Centre Regeneration (BCR) to redevelop. However, following strong public objection to demolition plans, the Council recommended that BCR should work alongside concerned Bradfordians to explore any further retention possibilities for the Odeon before demolition was declared the final option. A local master builder Norman Littlewood, (who was already well-known for his earlier attempts to gain listed building status) hand selected a small team to assist with the rescue, and the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) was formed in 2004...

For the last five years BORG have campaigned tirelessly to save the Bradford Odeon, with huge public support every step of the way. A planning application is about to be submitted to the city's planners for a vile mixed use commercial/residential complex by Langtree-Artisan and so the campaign is about to enter a crucial stage!

The Bingo hall



The future...

Bradford is to get a new city centre park, A lot of people don't particularly want this and feel that the money would be better spent elsewhere (like refurbishing the Odeon and bringing shopping back to the city centre!). The original towers of the odean building will be saved..


Thanks for looking Oldskool....​


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