Odeon Hendon

48 Church Road,
London, NW4 4EW

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Odeon Hendon

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Located in Hendon, north London. This was the last of the original Oscar Deutsch built Odeon Theatres to open before the outbreak of World War II. It opened on 28th August 1939 with Laurence Olivier in “Q Planes”.

It was located in a residential area of Hendon on the corner of Church Road and Parson Street, as opposed to the Ambassador Cinema which was in a prime location besides shops and opposite Hendon Central underground railway (tube) station.

The Odeon was designed by Robert Bullivant from the Harry Weedon firm of architects and had all the hallmarks in style of a typical ‘Odeon’. There was a slab tower, a rounded corner which formed the entrance (similar to the Odeon Leicester) and the only difference to the majority of Odeons was the elevation was in brick, rather than in cream faiance tiles.

Inside the auditorium there were two large light fittings over the balcony and a stepped ceiling rising up from the top of the proscenium which held concealed lighting. The splay wall on each side of the proscenium had horizontal bands of plaster which contained concealed lighting.

The Odeon closed on 13th January 1979 with Robert Shaw in “Force 10 From Navarone”. The building was untouched from its opening, although looking a little jaded. It was demolished in December 1981 and a block of flats/sheltered housing for the retired named Ferrydale Lodge was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 29, 2006 at 8:57 am

A set of vintage photographs of the Odeon Hendon:
Exterior by day in September 1949
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A day-time close-up of the entrance in August 1950
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The exterior photographed at dusk in August 1950
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A night view in August 1950
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A night view from a different angle in August 1950
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Close-up of the entrance at night in December 1950
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Exterior by day in July 1951
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orpheum
orpheum on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 am

Again i was present at its closure.This was a cinema with a very attractive interior.there was no circle.With a very small car park,it wa s very difficult to park nearby.Rarely attracted big audiences.

SJT
SJT on June 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm

There most certainly was a Circle! I sat there often enough (and indeed had several formative encounters there unrelated to film) It must have seated between 400-500, the rest being in the Stalls (around 800)the back of which had a semi-occluded view of the whole enormous screen because of the overhang. If you look at any of the surviving photos of what was a large building http://www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/hendon2.jpg you will see that it was very high, with an giant tea-rooms/restaurant behind the windows on the first floor, which backed on to the Circle entrance through a single, central door. As far as I know, right to the end it retained its original, multi-drop curtains: and the decor was pure Art Deco. Do any interior shots exist?

SJT

PeterBradshaw
PeterBradshaw on October 16, 2011 at 10:56 am

I have very happy memories of this cinema when I was growing up! I vividly remember watching John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King there!

blencowee
blencowee on August 8, 2012 at 1:15 am

I have so many wonderful memories of this place, I walked past everyday on my way to school my mother worked there for many years and as a child I spent every weekend at the Saturday morning pictures. Mr John Cross the manager was there for years and he was still in post when they closed it down he always let me and my friends in for free and I spent most of the summer holidays playing with his step daughter Gail Harding we had the run of the entire building and we would spend hours watching T.V up in the very top of the cinema in a special room that looked out over the Quadrant. They say that this Cinema was hunted by an old camera man named George I think. The manageress was Mrs Mills and the caretaker was called Ken Brain. I wish I could find Gail we lost touch many years ago she was my best pal at the time. I loved the Oden and was very sad when they knocked it down I seem to remember that Toya Wilcox the singer wanted to buy it and have it as her home, that might just be an urban myth though. Thanks for posting this on here the photo made me smile.

ArtDirector
ArtDirector on June 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

This cinema boasted of its original art deco furniture in its circle lounge into the 1970s. The proscenium arch looked as though it had been altered as the plaster did not match, as though it had been reduced in height to accommodate Cinemascope. It had double doors in veneered dark wood with window openings with the squared-off Odeon ‘O’ in each door. It had a good feel to it as a cinema and it is sad that it closed, probably when the lease on the land was up.

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