Odeon Ilford

Eastern Avenue,
Gants Hill,
Ilford, IG2 6DD

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Odeon Ilford

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Located on a prominent corner site bounded by Eastern Avenue and Perth Road, opposite Gants Hill underground Station. The Savoy Cinema was built for the small Kay Brothers circuit Kessex Cinemas and was the first of three cinemas that architect George Coles designed for the circuit.

It opened on 3rd September 1934 with Greta Garbo in “Queen Christina” and Ruth Chatterton in “Journal of a Crime”. Seating was provided in the plush auditorium on stalls and balcony levels. There was a large 27 feet deep stage, the proscenium was 38 feet wide and there were five dressing rooms. A restaurant was provided for the use of patrons and the general public.

The Savoy Cinema was taken over in 1936 by General Cinema Finance Corporation (GFC) which was founded by J. Arthur Rank a company later to be part of Eastern Cinemas. These were taken over by the Oscar Deutsch Odeon Theatres Ltd chain in February 1943 and it was re-named Odeon from 28th November 1949.

The Odeon was closed for two weeks in July 1967 for ‘modernisation’. It was converted into a 3 screen cinema in 1981 with a 768 seat cinema in the former balcony and two mini’s seating 255 and 316 in the former stalls area. In 1990 the former front stalls area was converted into a fourth screen seating 290, then in 1991 the former restaurant was converted into a 62 seat screen.

All were closed on 2nd April 2002 and by February 2003 the building had been demolished. Flats and a supermarket were built on the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 24, 2006 at 7:33 am

A couple of vintage photographs of the Odeon:
In November 1949 as the name is being changed to ‘Odeon’:
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In April 1971:
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kevinp
kevinp on September 6, 2008 at 8:14 am

some more pictures here

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