Report - - The New Victoria Cinema (aka Odeon) - Edinburgh - March 2011 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The New Victoria Cinema (aka Odeon) - Edinburgh - March 2011


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The forgotten location on several previous Scotland trips, this time we couldn't leave it out!

I was slightly surprised to find the place still open (exactly as i had it described to me 3 years ago in fact) but i was even more surprised to see that there was not a single act of vandalism in the whole building!! It really does beggar belief considering the ease of access.

The cinema itself now has 5 screens, three in the stalls, one on the stage and one in the original circle. Fortunately this chopping about has really had little to no effect on the original fabric of the building. The original proscenium arch remains behind the new screen along with the original plasterwork in the circle that has been utilised very well during the conversion.. The stalls lobby area and circle bar are both still in really good original condition too. It will defiantly be a shame if this one goes, i believe there are plans to convert it to a hotel..

The New Victoria Cinema opened on 25th August 1930 with Ralph Lynn in "Rookery Nook" and was a project of Gaumont British Theatres and Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT). Architect William Edward Trent collaborated with J. W. Jordan in designing this lavish city centre cinema.

Externally the facade was clad in cream faiance tiles and had four Doric columns over the entrance. The extremely wide auditorium was decorated in a semi-atmospheric style, with the ceiling totally plain which represented a sky and allowed for a cloud machine to give an effect. The side-walls had a series of niches that contained sculptures of the muses of art, music and drama which were designed by artist named Beattie. Ionic columns ran in a colonnade across the rear of the balcony and at the rear of the stalls were a series of twelve private boxes. Seating was provided for 1,226 in the stalls, 772 in the balcony and 60 in the boxes.

The New Victoria Cinema was provided with a 32 feet deep stage, five dressing rooms and a proscenium opening of 40 feet wide. Other facilities included a Wurlitzer 3Manual/10Ranks theatre organ (originally installed in the Embassy Theatre, Baltimore, USA) that was first played by Leslie James. There was also a cafe for the convenience of patrons.

The New Victoria was modified in 1960 when a new proscenium arch was fitted to acommodate a larger screen. From 6th April 1964 it was re-named Odeon and in 1974 was given a Grade B Listed building status. Converted into a triple screen cinema in March 1982 with 695 seats in the former balcony and two mini's in the former rear stalls seating 293 and 201. In December 1989 two additional screens were opened, seating 259 in the former front stalls and 182 seats on the former stage.

The Odeon closed on 30th August 2003 and apart from temporary re-opening as a live venue during the Edinburgh Festival has remained shuttered.

On 12th December 1974, Historic Scotland designated the Odeon Cinema a Grade B Listed building. It is listed on the Buildings At Risk Register.