Odeon Nottingham

9 Angel Row,
Nottingham, NG1 6HN

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auditorium in 1933

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Built for and originally operated by the County Cinemas chain, this opened as the Ritz Cinema. Local architect Albert J. Thraves was also brought in by the main architects Verity & Beverley.

The main facade on busy Angel Row was narrow and gave no indication to the size of the vast auditorium that lay behind it. The Ritz Cinema was fully equipped with a large stage, a Conacher 4Manual/22Rank theatre organ which was designed by organist Reginald Foort (who opened the instrument) and a large cafe/restaurant. The opening film on 4th December 1933 was “The Private Lives of Henry VIII” starring Charles Laughton.

Odeon Theatres Ltd. gained a controlling interest in County Cinemas from 1935 and took full control in 1939, but the Ritz Cinema retained its name until 1944 when it was re-named Odeon.

The Conacher organ was last used during the run of the Todd A.O. production of “South Pacific” and was removed from the theatre in 1964 and split up. The stage was used less often in later years, but did get a short term re-use in the early-1960’s when pop groups such as The Beatles played in concerts to packed houses in the theatre.

The original auditorium was destroyed in 1964 when the Odeon became the first cinema in the United Kingdom to be split into a twin screen operation. The architectural firm Harry W. Weedon Partnership were responsible for the conversion, with Trevor Stone & Mavis Stone the interior design consultants. It re-opened on 12th July 1965 with two modern curtain walled auditoriums. The upper Odeon 1 in the former circle had 924 seats and was designed as a showcase for roadshow presentations and opened with “The Sound of Music”. The Odeon 2 screen in the former orchestra stalls level had 1,450 seats and played regular releases, opening with “Mary Poppins”.

Odeon 2 was further sub-divided in 1976 when it was made into 3 screens seating 500, 130 and 110. A new screen, Odeon 5 was fitted into a former basement reception room and had 101 seats. In 1988 another room in the basement was made into Odeon 6 which seated 90 persons.

The Odeon 1-6 closed on 26th January 2001 and stood unused until September 2012, when demolition commenced. A hotel, apartments, shops and a car park are planned for the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

lulah
lulah on November 25, 2007 at 5:46 am

Hello Doug Kelly

I am a student working on and interior design revnovation project of the odeon cinemas on Angel row Nottingham. As the cinema has been closed since 2001 i have found it hard to gain internal access to the site. so if you have any internal footage of the site that would be great if you could pass it on to me. I am also looking for some historical information, uses and any structural information on the building. I would appreciate as much info as possible, so if you see this feel free to contact my email address.Thanks
Lulah ( )

raimesh
raimesh on August 11, 2008 at 5:38 am

I work in Chapel Quarter (the building that replaced the ABC/Cannon cinema nearby) and noticed a planning application sign outside the old Odeon the other day.

If you search on the Nottingham City Council web-site for application 08/02237/PFUL3, it looks like they’re planning to knock it down and put up a 10-storey office block/shopping development :–(

Shame to lose these old cinemas, as the modern ones like the Cineworld and the Showcase just don’t have the same sense of romanticism. Still, at least we still have the Broadway.

drguywalker
drguywalker on September 15, 2008 at 7:23 am

‘Destroyed’? What is it with this veneration for interior design and architecture which even in the 1930’s was viewed by architects as out-of-date and gaudy! No doubt the whole look and feel of theatres like this is fun to recall and interesting, but alternative styles and remodellings that came afterwards were every bit as designed as the original. For some reason the 1930’s seems to have been raised up to the cardinal point about which the whole edifice of cinema history revolves, yet very few people these days ever experienced it – on the contrary, the developments that came after are much more meaningful and equally interesting. This continual running down of anything that didn’t happen in the 30’s (and god forbid took place in the 60’s) is a real turn off. Cinema history itself will be heading the same way as the cinemas if the custodians of this history are not careful…rant over! P.S. When the theatre was being twinned, workmen sat astride the steel roof girders and smashed the ornate plasterwork out with sledgehammers – good riddance: the super-modern sixties replacement was brilliant!

Cinefan
Cinefan on January 6, 2009 at 6:18 am

I thought it would be of intrest to inform you that plans have been improved for demolition of the building and building of a 3-11 storey office building.

The article is here, but it’s a subscription site. I think the bit that’s shown explains it all.

http://www.regen.net/news/login/871065/

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2009 at 9:41 pm

The Odeon Twin was the subject of an article in the American trade publication Boxoffice Magazine, October 25, 1965. It says that the plans for the 1964-65 rebuilding were made by the architectural firm of Harry W. Weedon and Partners, and the interior design consultants were Trevor Stone and Mavis Stone. Among the photos accompanying the article is one of the marquee displaying the announcement “Grand Opening July 12th.”

Stevethequeen
Stevethequeen on June 4, 2012 at 3:30 am

My uncle was the doorman at the odeon in the early 60’s he wore a purple Great coat and cap with gold trim on the shoulders, he let the Beatles out of the back entrance when they played there, and got there autographs, it was to packed With fans at the front door to get there car anywhere near!! Steve notts

surf_digby
surf_digby on September 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

The bulldozers have started. The Odeon Nottingham shall shortly be no more.

70mmbobbyj
70mmbobbyj on October 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

After reading the overview and seeing photo’s of screen 1 & 2 it seems strange that “1” was for Roadshows yet the screen in “2” seems to be bigger “image wise”. The same can be said of the old Odeon at Bradford.I saw a photo of the opening films for Nottingham Odeon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was on in screen “2”, it was shot in Ultra Panavision 70mm.

vadek
vadek on January 10, 2013 at 3:48 am

Very sad to see that this has been demolished. I remember being on a behind-the-scenes tour just prior to it opening as a twin screen cinema. I was in my early teens at the time and used to see 2-3 films a week in Nottingham throughout my teens. I’ll always remember the Odeon as being shiny and new. I still remember the projection “suite” with a rotating micro-switch drum to control curtains, lights etc.

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