Last week for Odeon York, England.
YORK, ENGLAND — The 69 year old Odeon Cinema, in York, has entered its final week of showing films. The fantastic grade II listed Art Deco monument is the last of the city’s original picture houses and undoubtedly one of the best examples of its type in the country.
As part of the famous Odeon circuit of cinema built up by Oscar Deutsch (1893-1941), the York Odeon is one of two that had to be specially designed and executed because of the historic surroundings in which they were situated. The other was/is at Chester but York’s is regarded as the better of the two, with its moderne streamlined outline and excellent brick detailing.
Threats of closure came about in 2003 when the Odeon company were refused permission to carry out an insensitive re-branding scheme which would have removed the last original name sign of its type in the whole of the UK and the carving up of the building largest auditorium into bland smaller units.
Following the announcement that they were “assessing the site for its economic viability” campaigners began a petition in the hope that we could change their mind and bring about a historically sensitive refurbishment. It would have been an excellent opportunity to uncover original features and detailing including a spectacular mural in the former balcony foyer which consisted of historical figures interpersed with a 1930’s film crew.
This feature has been languishing above a later lowered false ceiling for over 40 years.
In a little over 9 weeks, we collected over 14,000 signatures and a wide range of support from the local community. However, nearly 3 years on, Odeon finally announced that they were closing the cinema and selling on the lease.
Sadly, throughout our campaign, we have received little feedback or comments from the owners which only goes to prove that they have little interest in the older properties in their circuit and favor the running of more modern multiplexes.
We have been told by the Odeon company that nobody has come forward to take on the lease although we have no details on how this is being marketed. Our fears now are that the building will be left empty and prone to vandalism and damage from the elements.
This is a rare survivor from the days where you actually had some atmosphere when you went to see a film, and deserves to be recognized as a building of national importance. The cinema is still structurally sound and a sensitive refurbishment would not be financially crippling to any new owner.
Campaigners, myself included, are still working towards securing a future for this rare gem and we hope that visitors to this page will offer messages of support.
For those of you in the York area this week, now is your chance to check out this forgotten marvel.
This coming Thursday the 31st of August is the final day and the last show in Screen 1, which seats nearly 800 people. It is the 20.05pm showing of the comedy, “You, Me & Dupree” starring Kate Hudson, Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon.
(Thanks to Tim Addyman for providing the photo.)