Odeon Portsmouth

94 London Road, North End,
Portsmouth, PO2 0SZ

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Odeon Portsmouth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of the original Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres. The Portsmouth Odeon opened on 14th December 1936 with Sydney Howard in “Chick”. It was the largest and most expensive Andrew Mather designed Odeon of that year. Total seating was provided for 1,824, with 1,224 in stalls and 600 in balcony.

It has an impressive monolithic tower frontage in cream faience with vertical green bands and a roof of red Spanish tiles. The auditorium’s ornate decoration included tall murals on side walls depicting film subjects.

A two week closure from 10th September 1960 for modernisation, including installation of 70mm with new wide screen and proscenium in front of original. Then began a glorious period through the 1960’s of almost uninterrupted Roadshow presentations (with the Gaumont almost opposite taking the Rank first-run weekly release).

Tripling took place on 26th August 1973, with 573 seats in screen 1 (former balcony) and 132 in each of the mini-screens located in the rear stalls under the balcony. In 1990 a fourth screen was added in the former front stalls area and a new screen was installed in screen 1. Further refurbishment has taken place since then and the current seating is 1. 631, 2. 229, 3. 179, 4. 259.

In 2007 the Freehold on the building was sold by Odeon Theatres Ltd. and after a few false roumors of closure, the final performances were held on 10th January 2008. Demolition is possibly the final act, still to be played out…..but, in December 2008, the foyer was in use as a OJ’s Discount Store and by August 2013 was in use as a Sainsbury’s supermarket. The auditoriums remain unusued.

Contributed by John Watkin

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Ian
Ian on December 17, 2007 at 11:39 am

A current photograph can be found here:–

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johnomnia
johnomnia on January 10, 2008 at 4:01 pm

A legend closed in Portsmouth tonight. Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” was the last film screened. The next action will be demolition for yet more shops and flats. Closure was originally scheduled for 15th November 2007, but a couple of reprieves with a bumper Christmas program kept the landmark building open into this new year. With fond memories of superb 70mm presentations through the sixties, such as: “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Doctor Zhivago”, “The Sound of Music”, “Cleopatra”, “Those Magnificent Men …”, etc., it’s goodbye to a another piece of UK cinemas history.

keiths
keiths on January 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm

What a tragedy!

stevedoncaster
stevedoncaster on March 31, 2008 at 7:19 am

I cannot believe that Portsmouth City Council will alow this building to be demolished – Northend will never be the same without it. Surely it should be listed – as should the Carlton at Cosham? So many buildings like this have already been lost and these are the very last surviving ones in Portsmouth. The only cinemas left now are modern multiplexes in Port Solent and Gunwharf. Multiplexes are not real cinemas.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 18, 2009 at 2:55 am

Sad pictures of decaying screening room 4:
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BrianR
BrianR on September 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Many happy memories of this place, my regular haunt as a teenage lad from 1990 until 2001 when I moved away from the Portsmouth area. It’s very sad to hear of the Odeon’s demise – inevitable after Gunwharf opened I suppose. Modern multiplexes may have their advantages (I’m as guilty as the next person of using them) but they have no soul or character – the Odeon North End had both of these in abundance.

BTW Some great pictures posted here of the Odeon in her better days!

surf_digby
surf_digby on August 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

The foyer is now a Sainsburys. Absolutely nothing of note is visible in there.

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