59-61 St. Peters Street,
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Opened as the White Hall Cinema on 14th December 1914 with Mary Pickford in “Such A Little Queen”. It was located on St. Peter’s Street, a main thoroughfare through the city and was located opposite St. Peter’s Church.
The main facade was covered in white Hathernware Faience tiling and rose to three storeys high. At the top of the building there was originally a statue of an angel holding a globe of the world aloft. The foyer of the building ran across the entire width of the cinema and was lit by a chandelier which reflected beautifully on wall mirrors. Inside the auditorium was decorated in a Classical style and had Grecian murals along the top of the side walls. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels and the front of the circle was horse-shoe shaped. The auditorium was rather long and narrow. From 1920 the Odeon was equipped with a cafe which was located on the first floor mezzanine foyer level. This remained open for business until 1954.
Initially it was an independently operated cinema, but it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in around January 1929. From 22nd April 1935 it was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s expanding Odeon Theatres circuit. They closed it on 29th June 1935 and commenced on some renovations to bring it up to the ‘Odeon’ standards (although being an older building, it never came up to the excellent facilites and style of the modern Odeon theatres that the circuit were building at the time).
It re-opened as the Odeon Theatre on 3rd August 1935. Two years later in 1937 the Odeon lost its exclusive hold on playing the Odeon release programmes when the nearby Hippodrome Theatre was taken over for a period of time by County Cinemas who were merging with Odeon Theatres. The Odeon and the Hippodrome sometimes played the same programme concurrently.
In later years when owned by the Rank Organisation the nearby (and far superior) Gaumont Theatre tended to take the best of the Odeon and Gaumont releases, leaving the Odeon to play the lesser films and the National Circuit releases.
The Odeon Derby closed on 1st May 1965 with Albert Finney in “Tom Jones”, a film that had already played two successful runs at the cinema in the previous eight months. The building had been sold to British Home Stores and it was demolished and a BHS store was erected on the site.
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