New Century Cinema
High Street and Bell Road,
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Designed by architect F.C. Mitchell for the A.E. Abrahams chain, it was taken over by the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. and opened as the Odeon on 4th January 1937. The opening film was Freddie Bartholomew in "Little Lord Fauntleroy".
The cinema has a corner entrance with a curved facade with five narrow windows allowing light light into the circle foyer/restaurant area. The auditorium was quite plain, and the only decoration was a decorative grille on each side of the square proscenium and a double trough in the ceiling which contained concealed lighting. Seating was provided 1,593, with 1,077 in the stalls and 516 in the circle.
The Odeon was sold to Classic Cinemas in December 1967 and was re-named Vogue Cinema. It closed on 13th January 1968 with a childrens matinee performance, the main feature being the 1948 film "My Dog Rusty" starring Ted Donaldson. The building was converted into a Vogue Bingo Club.
On 9th January 1971 a 111-seat Classic Cinema opened in what had formerly been the restaurant and in 1972 a 300 seat screen opened in the former circle. The stalls area remained in use as a bingo club. Mecca Leisure purchased the building and operated a Mecca Bingo Club in the downstairs area, and the cinemas were leased to the Cannon Group and re-named Cannon.
On 7th January 1997 the cinemas were taken over by the Picturedrome group of cinemas and were re-named Picturedrome. Three years later in 2000, they were taken over by Reeltime Cinemas and re-named New Century Cinema.
Mecca Bingo continues in the former stalls area, but in November 2006, planning permission was applied for, to convert the cinema section into church use. The screen in the former restaurant was closed, with the remaining screen in the former circle continuing. However the planning application to convert to church use was refused by the local council and the cinema operators Reeltime threatened to close the screen and board up this section of the building. In January 2008, Reeltime proposed plans to convert the cinema section into ‘community use’.
However this was not to be, as the New Century Cinema was closed on 26th February 2009. It was refurbished and re-opened 27th January 2015.
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