Odeon Westover Bournemouth

37 Westover Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 2BZ

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Odeon 1 Bournemouth

The Regent Theatre was built for the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres chain(PCT). PCT had just been taken over by Gaumont British Theatres when it opened on 13th May 1929 with the silent film "Two Lovers" starring Ronald Colman. The Regent Theatre was wired for sound when it opened.

Designed by architect William Edward Trent who was assisted by the local architectural firm Seal & Hardy, the original seating capacity was for 2,267 in stalls and circle. The facade contains a series of seven colonaded arches, behind which was located the first floor restaurant which could seat 300 diners. The auditorium was decorated in a French Renaissance style and had painted panels on each side of the proscenium, the work of artist Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was equipped with a Wultitzer 2Manual/9Ranks theatre organ which was opened by Reginald Foort. Full stage facilities were provided and the safety curtain had a charming landscape scene painted on its front, again, the work of Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was re-named Gaumont from 22nd August 1949 and continued until 16th November 1968 when it was closed for twinning. It re-opened on 15th July 1969 as Gaumont 1 & 2 and the building continued to be successful.

It was one of the last of the Gaumont Theatres to be re-branded Odeon when the Rank Organisation were standardising the names of all their cinemas. The name Odeon appeared on the building from 30th October 1986 and in March 1989 the downstairs Odeon 2 in the former stalls was closed for sub-dividing into 4 screens. These re-opened as Odeon 2,3,4,5 in June 1989. Seating in these screens was:359, 267,119 & 121. Odeon 1 in the former circle remains intact today as a 757 seat cinema which has a very large and very deeply curved screen. In February 1995 the 140 seat capacity Odeon 6 was opened in the former restaurant area.

The Odeon was closed on 9th February 2017.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 39 comments)

edwardo
edwardo on March 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

Andy Summers was not a projection at the Gaumont he was just there on a work Exsperianc .

mrchangeover
mrchangeover on July 4, 2015 at 7:40 am

From the aerial shot it looks like the projection room of the original Gaumont, like several other older Gaumonts, was on the roof. Allen Eyles, in his excellent history of Gaumont British Cinemas, mentions that the projection ports are at the rear of the interior dome. Does anyone know how the projectionists accessed the projection room? Did they use an interior staircase and then have to walk across part of the roof outside? Did this type of design result in an excessively steep throw for the projectors and image distortion for those in the audience who were sitting towards the front of the main floor?

Empire_fan
Empire_fan on July 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm

edwardo, he worked at UCI and Warner Bros, you might have misread.

Marcus17
Marcus17 on January 19, 2016 at 10:25 am

Wanted: billionaire to buy the UK’s last Cinerama venue

Please contact the campaign a.s.a.p.

Save Bournemouth Odeon Campaign “Striving To Keep Cinema Theatrical"

Please see the campaign support page: https://www.facebook.com/Save-Bournemouth-Odeon-Striving-To-Keep-Cinema-Theatrical-509679079071187/

Fabian_Breckels
Fabian_Breckels on August 30, 2016 at 7:54 am

Visited on Sunday. In better condition than the ABC but again the main auditorium is in semi darkness. No photographs allowed so this too is being deliberately run down before the multiplex replaces it. At least the ventilation was working properly, unlike the ABC up the road!

thomastace
thomastace on January 31, 2017 at 6:14 am

Closing on 9/2/2017

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on December 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Some interesting shots of old murals and the original proscenium plasterwork: https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/odeon-cinema-aka-regent-theatre-westover-road-bournemouth-july-2017.t110311

CF100
CF100 on December 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Having never been to Westover Road—or Bournemouth for that matter!—these cinemas are only of passing academic interest to me. But I couldn’t resist having a look at the 28DaysLater photos—and as a result found a “Historic Building Appraisal” (mentioned but not linked to in the 28DaysLater thread.)

It can be found among the documents in a planning application—between Comment 49 and 50 at the bottom of the page.

The appraisal is 142 pages (!) long, with numerous photos, including of the 1969 conversion works. Incredible!

Quite how in such expensive conversions fragments remain which could clearly have easily been removed is beyond me, especially above ceilings where they would seem to be a liability. Then again, shortcuts taken by builders are often very puzzling indeed…

As a result of searching through planning applications on Bournemouth Council’s site, I notice that the address shown on Cinema Treasures is erroneous—27 Westover Road being that of the former ABC.

CF100
CF100 on October 22, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Several urban explorers have posted YouTube videos of the current state of this cinema (and the former ABC nearby.) These are particularly interesting venues; many thanks to them for their efforts, should any of them happen to read this.


In response to DrGuyWalker’s post (from 2007!):

I kid you not, the original Vitavox loudspeakers.

Odeon Bournemouth Westover Road urban exploration video.

The above links directly to the time in the video where the old screen speakers can be seen. I am not quite sure about the make/model (HF horns removed?) but this certainly confirms “dinosaur” speakers were still behind the screen. Ironically, these kind of speakers are actually “audiophile” collectors' items today!

(Other videos of the old Westover Road super-cinemas are easy to find on YouTube.)


Obviously, both the Odeon and ABC are in a less than pristine state, with pigeons having moved in. Although their condition is more intact than some other disused cinemas that have been “explored,” with crumbling ceilings and severe water damage—a word of warning—these videos are not for the faint of heart!

CF100
CF100 on October 22, 2019 at 3:19 pm

2019 outline planning application has been “approved in principle.”

Summary details as entered on Bournemouth’s planning database:

“Development and re-development, including partial retention of building including main facade at three levels on the Westover Road frontage to allow for the construction of 1,197sq.m. comparison retail floor space; 67 apartments, 68 car parking spaces, associated servicing facilities, refuse and cycle storage.”

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