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Report - - Odeon Cinema (aka. Regent Theatre) Westover Road, Bournemouth - July 2017 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Odeon Cinema (aka. Regent Theatre) Westover Road, Bournemouth - July 2017

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#1
Sorry for the late posting of this, i had hoped to get back for a second look but ive had more important things to do lately!

This theatre is one of a pair on Westover road that i have been waiting to have a crack at for what seems like forever. The closure of this and the ABC next door has been on the cards for years due to Odeon (who owned both buildings) building a new multiplex in the town..

Cinema treasures provides a good overview of this history of this one..

cinema treasures said:
The Regent Theatre was built for the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres chain(PCT). PCT had just been taken over by Gaumont British Theatres when it opened on 13th May 1929 with the silent film "Two Lovers" starring Ronald Colman. The Regent Theatre was wired for sound when it opened.

Designed by architect William Edward Trent who was assisted by the local architectural firm Seal & Hardy, the original seating capacity was for 2,267 in stalls and circle. The facade contains a series of seven colonaded arches, behind which was located the first floor restaurant which could seat 300 diners. The auditorium was decorated in a French Renaissance style and had painted panels on each side of the proscenium, the work of artist Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was equipped with a Wultitzer 2Manual/9Ranks theatre organ which was opened by Reginald Foort. Full stage facilities were provided and the safety curtain had a charming landscape scene painted on its front, again, the work of Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was re-named Gaumont from 22nd August 1949 and continued until 16th November 1968 when it was closed for twinning. It re-opened on 15th July 1969 as Gaumont 1 & 2 and the building continued to be successful.

It was one of the last of the Gaumont Theatres to be re-branded Odeon when the Rank Organisation were standardising the names of all their cinemas. The name Odeon appeared on the building from 30th October 1986 and in March 1989 the downstairs Odeon 2 in the former stalls was closed for sub-dividing into 4 screens. These re-opened as Odeon 2,3,4,5 in June 1989. Seating in these screens was:359, 267,119 & 121. Odeon 1 in the former circle remains intact today as a 757 seat cinema which has a very large and very deeply curved screen. In February 1995 the 140 seat capacity Odeon 6 was opened in the former restaurant area.

The Odeon was closed on 9th February 2017.
Here's what it looked like originally, unfortunately the dome is long gone. The roof had been remodelled at some point and they must have just done away with it. As you will see however, all was not lost! Read the report and then come back to this picture to see what you can spot.

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The explore was a tad edgy. At first i thought it was unlikely i would get in, indeed the ABC next door looked more of a goer but before having a crack at that i thought id just check one thing and what do you know it worked! We were in here so long i never got time to try the ABC in the end.

Upon entering it was clear there was some kind of alarm system so the PIR dodging began. It was surprising how much you could see without having to go past one but eventually we did have to make a run past a couple and the alarm didn't sound so we assumed at the time it must have been deactivated.

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We headed into the lower screens first.. i didn't even bother to look at the three built in the rear of the stalls as they were unlikely to contain anything old. The one built near the stage end however was quite interesting with the original stage still intact.

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Each side of the stage a stairwell took you down into the basement where there were ventilation fans and boilers. Heading up there were a number of rooms containing assorted cinema crap but many doors were locked so there is probably more to see than what i have photos of.

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Heading back to the lobby we found our way up to where the circle bar would have been. There was a small screen built here not long before the place closed.

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Into the main screen. It was almost pitch black so i fumbled my way up to the projection booth and managed to fire up some illumination.

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The projection booths were all pretty modernised and uninteresting but i did manage to find a few rooms containing old kit. I thought the shelving was interesting sprayed with the original address..

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Back into the main screen and after a little bit more poking about i found what i had been looking for. The remains of the original theatres decor. The walls behind the screen still had the remains of hand painted murals and after a bit of climbing you could get right close up to the original proscenium arch. Note the PCT initials of the company that first ran the place.

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After a couple of hours clambering about we decided to call it a night but were surprised to hear an alarm whaling as soon as we opened the door back into the circle bar area. Ive no idea if we had triggered it on the way in and it was just extremely slow to get going or if someone had been in and reset the thing while we were inside.. It all seemed a tad strange but we made legs and that was that.. id give it 7/10 but i think next door could be better. What you waiting for??
 
Last edited:

Bertie Bollockbrains

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#3
Blimey that was quick was my first thought! Saw this at the weekend whilst I was doing the Bournemouth Marathon. I only put this up as a lead yesterday. Obviously then it was already known about.
 

djmip

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#10
yer you have to be careful which doors you try as alot are alarmed and apparently the security turn up in about 5/10 mins
 

Thumper

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#13
Great report and photographs, superb find on the original artwork as well! Funny about the alarms and thankfully no-one was there waiting for you! I'm in Bournemouth quite a lot and had my eye on it a couple of weeks ago after 2 days in Christchurch and Bournemouth visitng about 10 sites turned into a massive fail for every single one! I am currently waiting on an enhanced DBS check for a new job, so I am being a very very good law abiding person for the moment! I look forward to your report of the ABC next! ;)
 

xexxa

A national treasure
Regular User
#14
Can this go NP? The chavs will get it in no time otherwise
 

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