Odeon Sunderland

44 Holmeside,
Sunderland, SR1 3JE

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Odeon Cinema Sunderland

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Black’s Regal Theatre was built on the site of the Olympia Exhibition Hall and Pleasuredrome (1897-1910) and it was built for the northern independent Black’s circuit. It opened on 28th March 1932 with Jessie Matthews in “Out of the Blue”.

The theatre was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/9Ranks theatre organ which had an Art Deco style console on a lift. This was opened by organist J. Arnold Eagle. The policy of the theatre for many years was pictures and variety and it had a 57 feet wide proscenium, the stage was 40 feet deep and there were 10 dressing rooms. Other facilities included a cafe and roller rink.

In 1955 the Black’s circuit was taken over by the Rank Organisation and the Regal was re-named Odeon from 28th November 1955. It was divided into a three screen cinema in 1975 with 1,200 seats in the former circle and two 150 seat screens in the rear stalls.

On 28th March 1982 a special 50th Anniversary concert was given by Phil Kelsall on the Compton organ. Three months later, on 26th June 1982 the Odeon was closed with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Star Wars” & “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions”. The building was boarded up and abandonded for a long period of time.

However it was to re-open as a Top Rank Bingo Club and remains in use today as a Mecca Bingo Club. In July 2009, it was announced that the building and the entire block had been the subject of a compulsory purchase order.

Contributed by Paul Wynn, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

paulwynn on April 18, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Interesting videos from ex-staff detailing how the old cinema is haunted.Also shows the interior and its awful colours now as a bingo hall.Excellent and well worth a look;


paulwynn on April 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

6:40[TRANSLATED] Odeon Sunderland Part 1 [TRANSLATED] Odeon Sunderland Part 1
Video story depicting the ghost story of 1972 and the orbs on 14 Nov 2008 …

paulwynn on April 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Sorry forget them two posts and try these links which will take you direct to the interesting videos!

Odeon Sunderland Ghost Odeon Sunderland Orbs

paulwynn on August 14, 2009 at 11:11 am

excellent!many thanks for taking the time in writing that – any more?I only remeber after the alterations – when it re-opened and I was gob smacked at how beautiful Odeon 1 was and how I wanted to have a look around behind the scenes!The mighty organ at the Saturday morning club , being played.
I also never realised how good the old Ritz/ABC looked prior to being ripped apart!

Ian on August 20, 2010 at 12:46 am

Four more photo’s, including a detail of one of the “dancing ladies”, taken in August 2010 here.





The entire building is now threatened with demolition to facilitate a road widening scheme which only requires part of the long narrow entrance hall.

wmr on August 20, 2010 at 6:04 am

It was also lovely to look, (perhaps for a last glimpse) the almighty Paramount/Odeon Newcastle. Again the new owners have made sure it is depleted of anything so they can make money. These people just buy the cinema circuits to sell them off to make money. The heritage of these buildings has gone forever. We used to call the Rank Organisation (being an ex Independant Cinema owner), but you knew that Rank had the business at heart really, and now of course we really miss the group as it was. Thanks again for such a nostalgic look at these wonderful Cinemas.

paulwynn on January 18, 2011 at 2:08 am

will be devasting if the grand old building comes down as it has so much character. Would anyone know if we are able to view or tour?

machem on April 24, 2015 at 8:59 am

Ah, such sweet memories. When I was a kid we used to I used to look forward to the saturday matinees at the Odeon. It was a tanner to get in and if it was your birthday you went on stage to get a goody bag. I saw many great films at this theatre and I always remember that there were two entrances to the theatre because it was so huge. Much better than the multiplex cubicles you get now. I think that this building should be listed as the inside decor was wonderfully art deco.

terry on January 23, 2016 at 7:44 am

The 1200 seat screen 1 consisted of 737 seats in the former circle with the remainder of the capacity occupying the front stalls which was only very occasionally opened as an overflow area. I thought I would mention this just in case anyone imagined that it had a 1200 seat circle…….

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