Reopening for Odeon Cinema
YORK, ENGLAND — It has been announced today that the former Odeon Cinema, in York, which closed last August after 69 years, will reopen under the ownership of Reel Cinemas, a company that is bringing the whole movie-going experience back to the cinema.
After months of silence, the company has taken over the lease of the Art Deco, Blossom Street landmark, which is the city’s last remaining pre-war picture house.
The company are hoping that after an intial cleanup the cinema could reopen as soon as August. After that a major refurbishment will take place to create a 5 screen complex with original art deco features being restored. The complex will remain open during this time apart from perhaps the occassional day or week. Managing director Mr Kailash Suri said he was confident that there would be sufficient custom for the cinema, despite there being a multi-screen complex and arts cinemas elsewhere in the city.
This is fantastic news for all the campaigners, myself included that fought a 3 year battle to prevent the cinema being closed by the Odeon company. Over that time, the cinema was allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that there was broken seating, bare light bulbs on the ceiling and toilet facilities like something from a horror film.
We even had celebrity support from Dame Judi Dench, who was born and raised in York, and who had memories of visiting the cinema when she was younger.
It is hoped that subdivision work on the largest auditorium, to create 2 screens will not destroy original features but that they will preserved. However, as the new owners have been discussing the plans with the local council and conservation body English Heritage this hopefully will not be an issue.
I personally hope that this will include the uncovering of a fabulous figural mural of historic characters and a 1930’s film crew which has been hidden above a false ceiling for over 40 years.
We hear a lot in England about older cinemas closing and being demolished so it is heartening to hear that there is still a cinema company around that cares about the buildings from the hey-day in cinema-going and want to preserve these icons of architecture.
(Thanks to Tim Addyman for providing the photo.)