Avion Super Cinema

19 Anchor Road,
Aldridge, WS9 8PT

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Avion Super Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A mid-sized suburban cinema in an area of the West Midlands, near Walsall, the Avion Super Cinema looked remarkably like an original ‘Odeon’ but was never owned by that circuit.

Finished in cream glazed faience enlivened with green bands and a black base, there is a huge window lighting the circle foyer with entrance doors underneath the central canopy.

The auditorium is a dull brick box behind the facade. Neon lighting was much in evidence at night.

There was also a small stage and several dressing rooms. Seating was divided between the stalls and single balcony. The auditorium was decorated in shades of rose-dubarry and silver with the Art Deco style plasterwork picked out in green.

Several different colors of seating was used to create diametrical patterns when viewed from the stage.

The cinema opened on 26 September 1938 with a personal appearance by George Formby followed by his latest film “I See Ice”. It then settled into an uneventful routine mainly showing films but with around six full weeks of variety shows on the stage.

No major changes were made to the design of the building and it eventually closed on December 30, 1967.

It became a bingo hall almost immediately after and continued for over 40 years.

In 2001, the faience tiles were in poor condition and were removed with the walls underneath being rendered and painted – this has considerably smartened up the facade and indicates that the Avion was scheduled to be around for some years to come. Unfortunately, due to increased Government taxes on bingo, the Gala Bingo Club was closed on 1st August 2009, and the building was put up for sale.

Contributed by Ian Grundy, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

johnmorris
johnmorris on March 14, 2002 at 10:09 pm

I was a projectionist working from 1954 To 1964 on B T H mark one projectors. At the Avion.

ODEON_NUT
ODEON_NUT on February 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Currently this fine cinema is destined to be either a Wetherspoons pub or an extension car park to the local supermarket – lets hope that Wetherspoons prevail!

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on February 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Unusual Is that Roland Satchwell was an active Director until 1945, when a New company was formed to take over the Avion and buy the Dale Willenhall from the Estate of Norah Tiler.. A reminder Satchwell designed the Alexandra Theatre Birmingham… which not being a Cinema is not listed here

70mmbobbyj
70mmbobbyj on April 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

Two recent photos on The28dayslater site show the rear of this cinema being demolished. Believed to be for conversion to a Weatherspoons pub.

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on April 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Weatherspoons usually knocks the back wall out. alas.. But as long as they do not demolish the rest of the building. There is some chance in the future to turn it into a Live theatre.. As The Walsall area lacks anywhere decent to perform in..

ODEONesque
ODEONesque on July 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

Latest rumour from a Brownhills blog site is that the AVIONs facade area (all thats left) has now reopened as a Wetherspoons and the auditorium site has become the aforementioned car park. I`m going there with my camera soon and will post the results. I used to be ODEON_NUT by the way but forgot me details lol

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on July 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

The Stage house seems to have been demolished. The very fine Ronald Satchwell Art Deco interior was totaly destoryed. I live not far from this theatre..

70mmbobbyj
70mmbobbyj on July 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I have just uploaded some photos from the interweb showing the work on the building, it’s a shame about the interior.

DavidSimpson
DavidSimpson on August 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

J D Wetherspoon did, indeed, take over the building, opening it on 9 July 2013 as The Avion. Nothing, of course, remains of the cinema interior, but there are many photographs and other mementos from its days as a picture house on display, and the exterior has, perhaps, never looked better!

Mike_Blakemore
Mike_Blakemore on November 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

For me. I believe the interior is the most important part of the building The extorior is ok for those that never went inside any cinema..

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