Odeon Cinema in St Austell, England to be Demolished

posted by btkrefft on October 23, 2003 at 6:48 am

ST. AUSTELL, ENGLAND — A plan to redevelop the town center of St Austell, in Cornwall, would include the demolition of the 1936 Art Deco Odeon Cinema, which would be replaced by a new four-screen cinema, according to a report in the Western Morning News. Though conservationists are campaigning to save the Odeon, both developers and the conservation organization, English Heritage, seem to agree that since a remodeling from the 70s, there isn’t enough left of the original design to warrant saving the Odeon. One conservation consultant said that the cinema now looks more like “an industrial shed.”

Comments (63)

porterfaulkner on October 23, 2003 at 11:37 am

This cinema has an interesting exterior in the style of the Weedon designed Odeons – rather like Frank Lloyd Wright on a severely limited budget.Stepped and blocky,culminating with a tower over the main entrance.Whitewashed stucco with a minimalist vertical design rising over the marquee.

The interior is, however, quite plain and originally seated 1200 on two levels. Its austerity is made worse by the senseless carving up job of 1981 to triplex the main auditorium.Two very small cinemas placed underneath the small balcony overhang.

Its hard to believe in the tourist mecca of South West England that there isn’t a finer way to use this stylish building? Perhaps a coat of paint would start to make the locals appreciate its potential and think again?!

paulaclark on June 2, 2004 at 3:46 pm

It is always a grief to hear of another theatre building facing possible demolition. I sincerely hope this building escapes such a fate. I truly hope a vision for a hopeful future for this building springs up!

gdhp on August 21, 2004 at 1:08 pm

As I live in St. Austell I just thought I’d clear up the genuine plans of the St. Austell councl. They want to knock down the 5 screen cinema and then replace it with a design many years later, once theyve actually got planning permission with a 3 screen cinema, the 3 screens al being smaller than the main 3 screen the town currently has, also part of the building will be taken up for offices and flats aswell. The councils plans are going to leave no entertainment for any citizens of St. Austell and are all part of a foolish money saving scheme. The cinema is the only recreation facilty left in St. Asutell (par and overpriced bowling alley) and the cinema is a needed facility for St. Austell but also much of the rest of Cornwall!

mikero on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Just an update to advise that the demolition of ‘our’ beloved Odeon-Classic-Film Centre, Chandos Place, St.Austell, Cornwall, Is now complete (28/11/2007). The walls came down a few weeks ago (3-7/11/2007, and site clearing and removal of foundations, drainage etc have been undertaken these past few weeks. It upsets me to even talk about it, let alone to have had the misfortune of having witnessed some of it’s destruction. St.Austell will now get in the next 18 months, a 4 screen (1 less than the Odeon), 600 seat (half as many) anytown sterile cinema, and future generations will be denied the privilege of experiencing the glamorous splendour and
magnificent architecture of this beautiful and imposing Art Deco building.

Mintfest on October 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

A lifelong resident of St. Austell, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go in this town. But nothing has ever pained me more than to see our beloved Odeon razed to the ground. It’s not just the fact it was demolished, coming on 3 years now (and I swear it feels like only yesterday), it’s for the simple reason that the Filmcentre (as it was more commonly known) and the rest of the perfectly good town centre was flattened in this ridiculously harebrained and unwelcome attempt to “reenergise the life of St. Austell”. As far as I know, there was indeed a petition to save the Odeon, but after the ceiling over ‘Screen 1’ conveniently collapsed, no attempt to repair it was even considered. I guess it all just seemed too much trouble. Compared to a picture of what it looked like when it first opened, the foyer of the cinema looked identical to the way it was the day it closed; the same doors, fixtures and pink plushiness all over, just 21st century movie posters on the walls. And of course the disabled wheelchair lift, I doubt that was there in the 40’s. Summing up the entire affair into one word is easy enough, ‘heinous’. It makes me so mad, plus the new “White River Cinema” is just plain fugly. I’ll cherish the first film I went to see there, the Mask in ‘94 and the last, Shrek the Third in 2007.

mikero on August 27, 2012 at 7:37 am

Good to read you comments mintfest. It is now 5 years, almost to the day (23rd August 07), that I sat and with a feeling of impending doom, watched the last ever screening in this fabulous building. So many memories flooding my mind, of the great times I’d had there and the films, some good, some bad and some just plain ugly, but any film was an experience given the surroundings. I get a lump in the throat every time I visit the town centre now, and stand at the spot that was once the home of ‘The Odeon’. This building had served the town continually for 71 years, I was privileged to enjoy over 40 of them, and my Father before me was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club, there in the 1930’s. It’s end was undeserved and undignified. Shame on those responsible.

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