Odeon Southend-on-Sea

127 High Street,
Southend-on-Sea, SS1

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Odeon Southend-on-Sea

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A large and lavish cinema, the Astoria opened in a Moderne Streamlined style, with 2,750 seats on 15 July 1935.

It had a fully equipped stage and a Compton Organ with illuminated console. All lighting in the pink and bronze auditorium was indirect.

The exterior was finished in polished beige artificial stone with three large arched metal windows above the entrance – not unlike the Whitehall Theatre in London.

It had a major refurbishment in 1960 when seating was reduced to 2286 by way of increased leg room. Cinemascope was added in 1954.

Closed in 1970 for a complete reconstruction involving creating Odeon 1 cinema in the old cafe area seating 500, and extending the former balcony forward to create Odeon 2 with 1350 seats.

The new result was a comfortable but rather bland auditoria.

A supermarket was created in the former stalls and stage area.

The Odeon eventually closed in 1998 when a new multiplex opened in the town.

The Odeon was demolished in 2004 and a university has been built on the site.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

blakey692002
blakey692002 on May 11, 2005 at 4:13 pm

I can confirm that demolition of this Odeon was completed by January 2005, and the site is now levelled ready for new building work for the college. My colleague Peter Hammond and i were among the last to enter the building, and took much photographic material for posterity. Several useful items of cinema related equipment were also removed prior to demolition. The seating and the best of the projectors had been removed shortly after closure and laterly some of the sound and lighting equipment and curtaining was utilised in a local theatre. In all honesty, apart from the sculptured ceiling and a small amount of plasterwork on one wall of the original Circle holding area, all traces of the building’s Art Deco heritage had been swept away in the 1969/70 re-build. Traces of the original hydraulic orchestra pit were still visible, and the organ pipe chambers were still traceable. Despite reports, the original entrance and facade has also been demolished along with the auditoria.

mrtrumpy
mrtrumpy on August 21, 2005 at 1:03 pm

Any chance of some of the pictures you took for my sons homework?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 11, 2005 at 3:50 pm

A 1971 photograph showing the ‘new’ entrance on the side of the building, which was formally an exit. The original main entrance, foyer, stalls seating area and stage were by this time being used as a supermarket.
View link

Southendnick
Southendnick on October 19, 2005 at 2:59 pm

Hi

I’m new here just found the site, very very intresting

I beleve the seats from the Southend Odeon still surrive and amazingly are still in the town!

even more amazing they are still in use and yet even more amazing they are now in the old ABC now home to the New Empire Theatre.

From what I can rember the original ABC seats were removed when it closed so when the new owners took over they got talking with the Odeon owners and got them free or at a greatly reduced cost.

Also the projection equpment from the Odeo was saved and went to a working Preserved cinima “up North”.

Hope this is of some intrest and help, at least the Twin domes of the odeon were kept.

Nick

complaint
complaint on April 6, 2006 at 2:04 pm

IF YOU ARE 15 YEARS OLD THEN DO NOT GO TO THIS CINEMA BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT YOU ARE 12 OR YOUNGER. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO ME AND MY MATES. WE THEN ASKED TO BUY TICKETS TO GO AND SEE A “U” RATED FILM AND THEY WOULDN’D EVEN LET US GO AND SEE THAT. THE FILM THAT WE WENT TO SEE WAS A “12” RATING AND WE ALL OGT TURNED AWAY.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 17, 2007 at 12:24 am

You should have carried a photo-I.D. with you. I did when I was a nipper and now I do as a senior… the discount certainly helps!

jrhine
jrhine on February 23, 2008 at 1:28 am

The Compton organ in this theater was a 4/11.

stephenpugh123
stephenpugh123 on March 29, 2009 at 9:58 pm

The Odeon cinema was enormous. whilst in its multiplex mode, the Supermarket was right at the front and I think, was called Fine Fare; certainly the house colour was yellow and blue. It occupied the foyer area of the original cinema,( not the back: see above) which was bigger than most cinemas. Overhead there was a circular opening (part of the upstairs foyer) which you could look over to the main foyer. Sometimes there were exhibitions upstairs. Notably the Police put on a large crime detection and road safety exhibition where they showed a fascinating range of weaponry; knuckle dusters axe handles etc. etc. They even had a machine for testing the braking responses of drivers.

The main cinema had six entrance doors into the auditorium and at the sides there were holding areas where you could stand and at least not miss the big picture. I saw the first cinemascope film there, ‘The Robe’, with my parents and only got a seat about an hour into the film. It was 1/6d (seven and a half p to get in,for adults and, half for children.

The judging of the Southend Carnival Queen was sometimes held there and this was the only time that I ever heard the organ being played. I like modern architecture a lot but the current College building on the site now is an abomination.

Top Alec.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 23, 2010 at 3:00 am

“U” rated film.SOMEONE explain the British rating system to me.Why can’t they just use the MPAA.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater