Odeon Taunton

Corporation Street,
Taunton, TA1 4AH

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Gaumont Palace

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The second cinema in Taunton to bear the name Odeon was initially opened as the Gaumont Palace Theatre on 11th July 1932. It was built for Albany Ward, a division of Gaumont British Theatres. It featured a restaurant at first floor level above the main foyer, which had decorative freizes of birds and flowers painted by artist Frank Barnes. In the auditorium, the decoration was elaborate with shell-like wall sconces and a highly decorated ceiling panel. The proscenium was 50 feet wide and the stage was 74 feet wide, and 21 feet deep. There were eight dressing rooms.

It was renamed Odeon in 1969, and was closed by the Rank Organisation on 5th September 1981.

From November 1981 it was converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club, which later became a Mecca Bingo Club. The former projection box has been converted into offices, but the auditorium and foyers remains pretty well intact. It also retains many of it’s external features, the canopy has been enclosed in light blue metal cladding.

The former Gaumont Palace is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Dan Harris

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 15, 2006 at 2:11 pm

Opened as the Gaumont Palace Theatre on 11th July 1932 with Renate Muller in “Sunshine Susie”. It is considered possibly one of the best designed cinemas by architect William T. Benslyn. Seating was arranged in a semi-stadium plan with no overhanging balcony, but had a seperate raised section at the rear.

In 1937 it was re-named Gaumont Theatre and was re-named Odeon from 1969 until closing on 5th September 1981. Conversion into a Top Rank Bingo Club was completed and opened in November 1981.

It is a Listed Grade II building.

phatmat76
phatmat76 on December 15, 2006 at 5:47 pm

I have been granted access to the Mecca Bingo hall to view the building fully and will be recording my trip on a digital camera and possibly a video camera as well if anyone is interested in seeing more of this stunning building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm

The former Gaumont/Odeon Taunton, photographed as a Mecca Bingo Club in June 2008;
http://flickr.com/photos/22743973@N08/2557185948/

davehcooper
davehcooper on July 13, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Hi Matt,
Have you been able to go round the bingo hall? If so I would be very interested to see any pictures or video taken at the time.
It would be great if you could contact me – .co.uk
Many thanks
David Cooper

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm

A vintage photograph of the auditorium ceiling of the former Gaumont Palace:
View link

KitGreen
KitGreen on September 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm

This was also used as a live music venue. I saw The Stranglers here. Queen also played here, I think in 1975. Amongst the films I saw here was “Close Encounters of The Third Kind”

Fern_OB
Fern_OB on September 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I lived in Taunton until 1977. I remember two cinemas – the Gaumont and the Odeon and went to the Gaumont for Saturday morning kids films regularly. Yes, the Stranglers did an eraly gig here in 1977 and even David Bowie came here in 1973 I think it was. However, Queen played at the County Hotel not the Gaumont in 1974.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

Here is an exterior picture of the theatre as the Gaumont from 1931, and here is one of the auditorium taken in the same year.

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