Odeon Darlington

78-80 Bondgate,
Darlington, DL3 7JT

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Odeon Darlington

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Majestic Cinema opened on 26th December 1932 with Nancy Brown in "Maid of the Mountains". It was built for an independent operator.

Seating in the auditorium was provided for 1,039 in the stalls and 541 in the balcony. The proscenium was 45 feet wide, the stage 17 feet deep and there were five dressing rooms. The cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/8Rank organ which was opened by Frank Matthews. An additional facility was the provision of a cafe.

In November 1935, it was taken over by National Provincial Cinemas Ltd. who were part of Union Cinemas chain. In 1937, Union Cinemas pulled out of the running of the Majestic Cinema and it returned to its original operators.

It was taken over by the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. on 16th July 1943 and re-named Odeon on 9th April 1945. The cafe was still advertised as open during the 1950’s. In 1968, the Compton organ was sold and removed from the building. It was around this time that the facade was covered over with metal strips, in order to ‘modernise’ the building.

There was talk of the Odeon being converted into a twin-screen cinema, but these came to nothing. It was loosing money, and the Rank Organisation closed the Odeon on 24th October 1981 with Burt Reynolds in "Cannonball Run" being the final film screened. The building lay empty and unused for several years, and in October 1986 it was converted into use as a snooker club, which operates in 2008 as Riley’s Snooker Club. In 2014, renovation work was begun to convert the building into a banquet suite and live performance venue. For the time being the pool hall continues to operate in the former foyer of the building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

KenRoe on December 15, 2008 at 11:42 am

A vintage photograph of the Odeon Darlington, playing the Odeon release in August 1949:
Photographed in January 1971, playing the Odeon Release:

AdoraKiaOra on December 16, 2008 at 5:19 am

How could they have coveerd up such a gorgeous frontage?

Ian on December 16, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Another shot of the Majestic / Odeon which is looking in a sad state now:–


Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 16, 2009 at 7:58 pm

This site has a photo of the Odeon.

Ian on December 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

An exterior shot from 2011. The upper level is reportedly intact but in a very poor state – a request for access was refused because “the floor is not safe” – the former ground floor stalls area is still in use as Rileys Snooker Hall. There appears to be much use of stained glass in the windows.


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