Stafford Cinema

3 Newport Road,
Stafford, ST16 2HH

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Odeon Cinema Stafford

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This Odeon Theatre was one of the smallest built for the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. It opened on 5th October 1936 with a live performance on the small stage by Jack Payne and his Band. The opening film for the remainder of the week was Charles Chaplin in "Modern Times".

The Odeon Theatre was located at the edge of the town centre, close to the independently operated Picture House. It had a good position on the corner of Newport Road and Bridge Street. The exterior was brick with windows edged in white stone and there were bands of white stonework sweeping horizontally around the corner facade of the building. Inside there were very tiny foyers and the auditorium was very wide at the rear and narrowed at the proscenium. Seating was provided for 535 in the stalls and 421 in the circle. The projection box was at the rear of the stalls, beneath the circle. Decoration was rather plain, with a couple of grilles on the side walls for air extraction and one in the main ceiling. Lighting was via a couple of coves in the ceiling which contained hidden lighting.

The Odeon was temporarily closed in February 1946 when it suffered damage by flooding. Apart from that it led an uneventful life.

It was disposed of by the Rank Organisation in July 1981 and was taken over by the Hutchinson Leisure Group who re-named it Astra Cinema. In December 1981 it was tripled with 435 seats in the former stalls and two mini cinemas in the former circle seating 170 and 168.

In 1988 it was taken over by Apollo Cinemas and re-named Apollo Cinema. The downstairs cinema was closed and became a bingo club for a couple of years, during which time the two mini cinemas in the former circle remained open. The bingo operation gave way to films again in 1990 and today all three screens are open, with seating for 305, 170 and 164. In January 2014 it was taken over by the Curzon Cinemas chain and renamed Stafford Cinema.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 22, 2008 at 10:38 am

Three vintage exterior views of the Odeon:
In October 1949, playing the Odeon release:
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In April 1952, playing the Odeon release:
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In 1969, playing a ‘popular’ release:
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Doolally
Doolally on January 22, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Is this the Cinema that Oscar Deutsch referred to as ‘our Drawing Room Cinema’, due to it’s size?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 22, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Doolally; That is correct. The plot of land was small and was restricted by other adjacent buildings who’s owners were not willing to sell, and be demolished to build a new cinema.

The projection booth was located on the rear stalls level, as this allowed for a maximum seating capacity. The circle seating went to the rear internal wall, which externally is the front wall of the cinema where the large Odeon sign is located on the vintage photographs I posted above.

Ian
Ian on January 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm

1986 view here – note where the ODEON letters have been removed from the facade:–

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

A fish & chip shop was allowed to open in one of the retail units. Normally this use for not allowed as the smell of cooking managed to get into the cinema. However, here at Stafford, I believe one of the businesses demolished when the theatre was built, was a fish & chip shop, and the proviso for demolition rested on a ‘new home’ when the Odeon was built.

Ian
Ian on June 15, 2008 at 6:41 am

A June 2008 of the Apollo Cinemas:–

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Chrisingram
Chrisingram on June 19, 2011 at 12:56 am

The late Ray Faulkner ‘Mr Odeon’ was a trainee projectionist in 1944 working his way to Chief Projectionist where he spent the next 37 years at this unique Cinema.For the last seven he moved up the road to The Picture House. Ray was everything which this industry has lost,a total and absolute Professional and to see him work in the'box'was a fascinating experience. Brother Eric and Son Ray also lent a hand and Mary was one of the usherettes a position Ray always politely referred to as a pusher. His wicked sense of humour and acerbic wit made Ray one of the nicest persons you could wish to meet and I’m proud to have known and gained so much knowledge from him over the years. You are not forgotton Ray. CHRISINGRAM

michaelbrent
michaelbrent on January 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Curzon Cinemas have taken on full operational management and programming of the Apollo Stafford cinema from the previous owners, Vue Cinemas.

They plan to refurbish the cinema over the coming months

http://www.thestaffordcinema.com/

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