Odeon Walsall

1 The Bridge,
Walsall, WS1 1PY

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CaptainC on November 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Visiting the Gaumont (Walsall pron. Gormunt) was a rare treat. The photos confirm it looked like a west end theatre. The foyer was like the sitting room of a stately home and on the first floor was a celebrated restaurant. The interior decor was majestic. I only began using it when I started going out with girls as the ticket prices were so dear. It was the place to see the local premiers of big films like Lawrence of Arabia. I took one girlfriend to see The Sound of Music there, swankily getting the tickets in advance and presenting them to the uniformed staff. Regrettably it was refurbished with a sterile, modern look, but didn’t last long before being destroyed in a fire. I recall one of the last visits there when we sat up in the circle and were disturbed my a mouse munching on a crisp packet under my seat!

BeerWurlitzer on September 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

More photo’s of the Picture House in Walsall, along with a bit more history, can be found at: www.beerwurlitzer.org.uk/walsall-picture-house.html

Mike_Blakemore on March 30, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Terry. The Hippodrome Nuneaton was ABC’s first Theatre in the Town. Which was in Partners ship with Leon Salberg and Sidney Clift… The Ritz was owned and built by Union Cinemas which was part of the take over by ABC… I used to do relief Management at the Ritz when I was a Lad :o)

terry on March 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Well, I did not know that CJ Foster came from PCT but this has made me wonder about a story my old friend and sparring partner, George Skelton (now in that Licensed Variety Theatre in the Sky) told me years ago.

Georges’s second theatre as a young Manager was Doncaster Picture House (this was after Hippodrome Nuneaton and prior to Regal Rochdale) and, aware of the building’s limitations by this time (early CinemaScope days), ABC were approached by the owners of the town’s largest cinema, the Ritz who were proposing to sell.

ABC sent CJ Foster to survey the place and he said that there was a huge crack down a side elevation and therefore did not recommend purchase. George said that his instinct would have been to “cement the bloody crack up” but the decision was made and, of course, who ended up with the Ritz?…..Rank and it became the Odeon whilst ABC soldiered on with the PictureHouse for years afterwards before finally opening the new ABC in 1967.

Mike_Blakemore on March 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Terry Ken Roe and I are doing research on this problem funny enough I believe the Sunderland Theatre was done By George Alexander. When ABC Built Cinemas they employed a more local Architect to supervise stages of construction as it is required by Law.. Which probably why the name has appeared.. Glen’s assistant C. Jack Foster was the Ex PCT Architect by the way So that is how the connection was made.. Take a Look at the Queens Cinema Wolverhampton you see the design repeated again..

terry on March 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

See auditorium photo of Gaumont/Havelock Sunderland and note the similarities. Percy Lindsey B rowne & Glover I assume were the forerunners of Percy L Browne & Son who were assigned by ABC to design most of their theatres in the Tyne Tees Region (WR Glen was obviously too busy).

Mike_Blakemore on March 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm

The Co-operative Supermarket is now open.

Mike_Blakemore on February 24, 2013 at 7:54 am

The Tesco Supermarket is closed.. and awaiting the Co-operative Supermarket and Primark to move on to the site

Mike_Blakemore on July 30, 2012 at 8:37 am

I have now loaded a picture of the Fanastic Foyer.. Before being wrecked by the **** modernisation by Moorebird Ltd., I have a picture of the Interior, which I still have not found..

Mike_Blakemore on August 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hmm. Correction. The fire was not caused by a disgruntled former projectionist… FACT.. it was disgruntled former vegatable delivery man that set fire to a number of catering establishments at that time. I found this a sad time.. even though I was Assitant Manager of the Local ABC Cinema.. at the time.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

A vintage photograph of the Picture House, and photographs of the first ever Wurlitzer organ to be installed in the UK, which is now installed in the Congregational Church, Beer, Devon: