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Originally on this site was the Majestic Cinema. The Gaumont Palace Theatre in Hall Gate at the corner of Thorne Road, Doncaster opened on 3rd September 1934 with Jesse Matthews in “Evergreen”. It was designed by architects W. E. Trent and W. Sydney Trent. It had 2,020 seats and a full stage 67 feet wide, a flytower and 11 dressing rooms. It was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/10Rank organ, with an illuminated console on a lift. There was also a large cafe/restaurant and above the cafe/restaurant windows on the facade was a frieze of posed figures in a bas relief sculptures by Newbury A Trent depicting “the progress of a film from its conception, the writings of a scenario, the building of a set, to the shooting and completion”.
The Art Deco style auditorium was extremely elegant with panelled walls, a curvaceous ceiling with lighting troughs, and a noted painted safety curtain by artist Frank Barnes, depicting the railway industry prevalent in the town. During the late-1960’s and thoughout the 1960’s the Gaumont staged many ‘pop’ concerts, including, Buddy Holly, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Although it was modernised in 1964, there is much of the original still remaining.
The Gaumont was tripled in 1973, with two mini-cinemas under the balcony (seating 144 each) and the main screen with a still impressive 1,003 seats in the former circle and front stalls. This was to retain the use of the large stage. The sub-division of the Gaumont gave the Rank Organisation the excuse to close the old Odeon in the town on 7th July 1973. Normally the Odeon name would be passed over, but it remained a Gaumont, and was one of the last Gaumont’s to loose that name when it became the Odeon 1987.
In 2007 this is still open and still a three-screen operation, seating has been reduced to 975 in screen 1, although screens 2 (159 seats) and screen 3 (161 seats) have had a few extra squeezed in.
The Odeon was closed on 10th April 2008 with the final film screened being Sean Faris in “Never Back Down”. It has been sold to a local company Lazarus Properties, who specialize in town centre re-developments. They had no plans for use of the building at the time of closure, but in February 2009, plans were proposed to demolish and build a casino. Attempts were made to save the building, but these were overturned.
Demolition was in October/November 2009. The bas relief sculpture on the facade was saved, but was then ‘lost’. It was found a few years later in a council building yard. In 2019 it waits for its renovation and a decision on where to display it.
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