Odeon Sale

22 Washway Road,
Sale, M33 7QY

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Odeon Sale

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Located in Sale, Cheshire, now part of Greater Manchester. Designed by the famous British cinema architects, Drury & Gomersall, the Pyramid Theatre is a classic example of an Egyptian-style cinema in Britain and had a 1,940 seating capacity.

The frontage although not particularly Egyptian in overall design does have various Egyptian style mouldings and fluted pillars. Internally, the Egyptian theme was again largely mouldings and finishes unlike Graumans Egyptian. The theme was included in the specially designed Christie Organ, which is currently installed in the Blue Coat School in Oldham.

The Pyramid changed hands a couple of times between its opening in 1933 and 1942 when it was taken over by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd. chain.

In 1981, the Rank organisation closed 29 of its Odeon cinemas and the lease for the Odeon Sale was bought by the Tatton Cinemas group and it was re-named Tatton Cinema. Stage shows returned to the theatre, however the runing costs caused the lease to revert to Rank in 1984 and the building was closed.

The cinema was purchased by Trafford Borough council for £200,000, but by 1987 the costs to the council were estimated at £1.5 million. A campaign was started to save it from demolition.

In 1988, it was advertised for sale by tender and by 1990 the cinema was converted into an American themed nightclub, known as JFK’s (quite how the Egyptian theme lent itself to this is anyones guess!).

The nightclub closed around 2001 and the auditorium has since been transformed into a franchised L.A. Fitness Centre, using a former front stalls exit as its entrance. The main entrance and foyers are currently unused.

The Pyramid Theatre was designated a Grade II Listed building in November 1987.

Contributed by Steve Lynch

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

petermaude
petermaude on November 20, 2003 at 5:11 pm

I would like to say how interested I was to find information about the Pyramid/Odeon Sale.My late father (Harold Maude)was the chief projectionist from about 1934 until he retired in 1979.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 11, 2005 at 5:37 am

Two exterior views of the Pyramid, Sale when it was the Odeon here:

  1. Possibly late 1940’s/early 1950's
    View link

  2. In 1971
    View link

Ian
Ian on August 14, 2006 at 2:00 am

Another (sad) picture after closure here:

View link

hugovk
hugovk on September 18, 2006 at 10:54 am

[i]“… Undoubtedly the most splendid cinema in Sale was the Pyramid on Washway Road; this was designed by Drury and Gomersall in an "Egyptian” style, hence the name. The Pyramid was built 1933-4 to seat 2,000 at a cost of £70,000. The building included a first-floor cafe advertised as the “rendezvous for discerning folk” and, flanking the cinema, two rows of shops were built in a style which harmonised with the nearby Post Office.

“Once built, the Pyramid then needed a licence to open; this was refused by the magistrates after oppostion from, among others, the Palace and Savoy cinemas and the Regal, Altrincham. A protest meeting was organised by a local committee which included the vicar of St. Paul’s. The meeting was a success, as the Pyramid’s 2,000 seating capacity was filled and another 2,000 gathered outside; a petition had attracted 18,000 signatures.

“The result was that a licence was then granted and the Pyramid was opened for its first public performance on Monday, February 26, 1934 with a film and stage show. It is a cinema typical of prosperous suburbia of the 1930s and was built with a spacious car park. The Pyramid was bought by Rank in 1941 and, later, became an Odeon cinema. The Odeon showed its last film in October 1981; the cinema was sold and later re-opened as the Tatton, finally closing in 1984.”[/i]

From A History of Sale, by N.V. Swain.

Since the Tatton closed, it opened as a nightclub called JFK’s in 1990, then it closed again for a few more years before reopening as an L.A. Fitness gym, which it is now.

Here are some more photos of the Pyramid Cinema/Odeon Cinema, inside and out.

  • 1934, Pyramid Theatre’s opening, “Only the best is good enough for Sale”
  • 1934, interior at opening.
  • 1942, Desert Victory
  • 1943, Air Training Corps inspection
  • c. 1943, Screening of Colonel Blimp
  • Pageant of * Victory, * 1944
  • Victory Day, 1945
  • 1966
  • 1981, the Odeon “taken on the day of its supposed closure, later re-opened.”
  • And finally, 2006, LA Fitness gym.
hugovk
hugovk on September 18, 2006 at 12:08 pm

A couple of extras from September 2006: from above, and around the side.

woody
woody on March 23, 2009 at 3:20 am

two very different views
shortly after opening in its full glory
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/3376186179/

and in 1985/86 at its worst
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/65274530/

Ian
Ian on March 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Three exterior pictures taken in March 2009 here – a peek inside the gym revealed that much of the original design has been restored and is on display.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/3396137069/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/3396946704/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/3396945702/

Ian
Ian on August 31, 2011 at 1:26 am

A 1988 shuttered shot here

ODEON SALE

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