Odeon Bournemouth

27 Westover Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 2BZ

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Odeon 1 Bournemouth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 W.E. 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.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

Marcus17 on March 17, 2013 at 3:20 am

People who are interested in saving the Bournemouth Odeon & ABC from being moved & redeveloped can post comments, pictures, and raise discussion on Facebook. Search; ‘Save Bournemouth Odeon’ on Facebook or Google it.

FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm

GilesEngland – Really good to hear about the presentation standards at the Gaumont in such detail – especially the use of the act-drop/house curtain and the precision of the non-sync music. What a sense of occasion and excited anticipation would be created by clever use of tabs and lighting and how “conspicuous by their absence” are such things in today’s uninspired multiplex rooms. At a time when cinemas ought to be pulling out all the stops to make the experience very different from today’s increasingly sophisticated TVs, the opposite seems to be happening – naked screens, lighting like an airport lounge, masking unused, “No thanks!”. I have a home cinema with variable masking, house and screen tabs, three-colour circuit pageant lighting, LED concealed lighting and projected clock. Friends and neighbours love the atmosphere and you should see children’s expressions when colours change and fade as the curtains open and the picture appears as if by magic. Most multiplexes are conveyor belts for the consumption of popcorn and films – in that order – designed by those with neither flair nor imagination but who are capable of feeding numbers of seats and exits, speaker positions, air conditioning and screen dimensions into a computer model. What comes out at the other end is a cinema with no theatrical connection whatsoever; bland, cold, uninspiring and without “magic”.

MikeJC on June 20, 2013 at 5:20 am

The organ is long gone, but in the thirties, for a time, the audience was entertained with organ and piano duets played by Kevin and Edith Buckley and at least one 78rpm record of their playing at this theatre was issued by HMV – Chopsticks on one side the the Gavotte (I think!) from Mignon by Ambroise Thomas on the other. In the sixties the BBC broadcast a weekly programme, “Melody for Late Evening” played on the Wurlitzer by Ronald Brickhill, the last resident organist.

Marcus17 on March 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Hello all,

The Save Bournemouth Odeon Campaign (“Striving To Keep Cinema Theatrical”) is growing strength.

Can ex-staff of this building or the ABC down-the-road please contact the campaign a.s.a.p. We have already heard from a few but we would like to meet more people and chat cinema. We have a function planned.

Cheers :)

Paul Stephenson
Paul Stephenson on December 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Unfortunately the long delayed new multiplex has started construction, due for completion in 18 months – late summer 2016. This doesn’t bode well for the existing Odeon and ABC cinemas in Bournemouth.

Vinci starts £50m cinema complex

FanaticalAboutOdeon on January 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm

The plan is indeed for the present Odeon and ABC cinemas to close once the ten screen Odeon multiplex is completed on Exeter Road in 2016. I for one can’t imagine Westover Road without its two impressive cinemas overlooking the Pavilion fountains and gardens. No doubt we’ll be told the facade of the Regent/Gaumont/Odeon will be retained to “maintain the streetscape” but what good is that when the cinema itself is gone? The thought of a mega Tesco or the south’s largest Macdonalds sitting behind the famous colonnade is not a happy prospect.

edwardo on March 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

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

mrchangeover on July 4, 2015 at 9:40 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 on July 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm

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

Marcus17 on January 19, 2016 at 12:25 pm

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/

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