Odeon Newcastle upon Tyne

Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QE

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

NThomson on August 19, 2018 at 5:21 pm

From memory, during the conversion to four screens, Sc1 had a temporary screen & frame erected in front of the old proscenium to enable films to be shown during the work going on behind….

Ambak on July 4, 2018 at 11:20 am

To clear up a misconception, the circle at the Odeon was never extended forward. When the tripling was done the roof of the minis protruded in front of the circle. When the fourth screen was added, a floor was built from the roof of the minis forward to the original proscenium and the screen raised to sit on this with a new false proscenium around it. The fourth screen was in the old front stalls area, which had retained seats after the original tripling. The original circle seating area remained as built through all these changes. How all this work raising the screen to it’s new position was done without Odeon 1 closing is puzzling, but my records indicate that it never closed.

terry on April 11, 2017 at 1:08 pm

A former Odeon employee told me a few interesting things about the theatre’s de-listing but to name names and to repeat what I was told might prove libellous…….

SimonJCotterill on April 11, 2017 at 11:25 am

I’ve collected some photos of the Odeon, which may be of interest at: https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/odeon-cinema-pilgrim-street-newcastle/

I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie at the Odeon, when I came to Newcastle as a student. The closed cinema has been a depressing site for years now. The listing and then de-listing of the building is interesting and shows the tensions that can arise between heritage and redevelopment!

Thanks Cinema Treasures!

terry on April 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm

it was on the local news here but I didn’t know it was on National :–


Mike_Blakemore on April 4, 2017 at 6:13 am

On the News today that the frontage collapsed in the street….

terry on November 3, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Photo uploaded. I made a rare excursion into Newcastle today and fully expected to see the scaffolding already up. So far, however, nothing seems to have taken place – at least on the outside. I guess that inside the usual asbestos stripping etc must be in progress.

What a pity that the Paramount/Odeon was not considered worthy of restoration as it would have made a fine multi purpose auditorium (there is sufficient space at the rear to deepen the stage). It would have been far superior to the barren looking City Hall and the ‘slugs on the riverbank’ known as The Sage…..

NThomson on October 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm

I worked at this theatre from 1975 till closure, and news recently about its impending demolition is very sad, We`ve experienced some great premieres, special screenings, visits by celebrities etc… what a pity to lose such a historic building…

project on October 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Demolition is set to start on 1st November 2016. When the Odeon was tripled in 1975 it was a drop wall conversion. The two mini cinemas (cinema 2 & 3) were in the back stalls with a wall built down from underneath the front of the circle. This left the original circle, front stalls and original proscenium untouched and this became cinema 1. When the Odeon became four screens the circle was extended forward and a new proscenium was built in front of the old one, this remained as cinema 1. Cinema 4 was what was left of the old front stalls at ground floor level.

orence on October 30, 2014 at 8:11 am

Hi. I wondered if any of you could help me out. I am wanting to get access to the inside of the Odeon. Does anyone know who to contact in order to get permission? Many thanks.

The_Tower_Bridge_Fox_1 on March 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm

This is a Horror story! The exterior of the building is just as worth saving as the interior, You just have to look at sites where they already completely demolished cinemas without retaining any original features. (The Gosforth Royalty. The Queen theatre)

To see just how vacuous the these sites now are. Gosforth still looks like it has a front tooth removed, And the tacky pastiche were the queens theatre stood is urban anti mater.

Much better to sees original features retained even if its not still used as a cinema

In London there are plenty examples of converted cinema , Witherspoon pub housed in a cinema , There is even an apartment store housed in inside a cinema with stalls circle screen and even the original organ retained.

But of course a cinema would be even better.

William Mewes
William Mewes on April 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Here is a rather depresing photo taken from the upper level of a Number 21 Bus in April 2011.

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 28, 2010 at 7:12 am

Vintage photographs of the Paramount/Odeon, and its Wurlitzer organ console:

Ian on August 19, 2010 at 4:07 am

Some more photo’s of the Odeon in it’s current sad state (August 2010) can be seen here. Some more of the main screen will follow in a few days.



Screen 3:

Seat standard:

jbn6773 on June 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

latest news

“It is with some sadness that we have to report that our long running campaign to save the former Odeon cinema in Pilgrim Street has now come to an unsatisfactory end. Brookfield, the current owners of the East Pilgrim Street development site invited Geoffrey Purves and John Matthews along with John Burns of Mackellar architects to have a look at the interior on Tuesday 25th of May. The building has been stripped of anything of value, and more importantly the specific fixtures and fittings which were so crucial in English Heritages original listing decision in 2000. We believe that Cinven, the owners at the time, who along with the Rank Organisation successfully appealed to the DCMS to controversially de-list the former Grade II listed Odeon, took the opportunity at that time to ensure that nothing remained worth listing. We understand from Brookfield that they do have some items “in storage” but as yet they haven’t indicated what they themselves have removed or indeed the condition of the interior when they themselves took possession. The elegant and elaborately worked ornamental balustrades manufactured by local architectural metalworkers M Aynsley and Company of Heber Street which many members will remember leading up to the foyers from the main Pilgrim Street entrance have been ripped out leaving gaping holes in the concrete stairs. Shadows on the walls are all that remain of the decorative lighting sconces and other original fittings.

Geoffrey and John visited the former screen 2 and 3 on the ground floor, now with their separating wall removed, (probably because of the asbestos insulation used in the 70’s conversion) and now returned back a single space as it was when first opened, then upstairs to screen 1, the largest which still could seat over 1000 patrons at the time of closure in 2002. Some of the original ornate metal side cheeks which graced the row ends were stacked awaiting removal along with other remnant of the auditorium seating. The highly ornate decorative fixtures above the lighting columns which were also original fittings when the cinema was opened in 1931 by Paramount have all been removed. The last part of the tour was at the top of the building in the projection room where, apart from some electrical control units, nothing remains.

It seems that anything which could be taken has been taken, which of course as owners of the building at the time Cinven were perfectly entitled to do. However the fact that the Society had submitted a document to the DCMS providing additional information to substantiate our request for them to return the Odeon’s Grade II listed status, and it was therefore still “under consideration” we still feel it was a cynical act of wanton destruction by the owners. It took the DCMS seven years to respond to this report despite numerous letters and telephone calls from the Society as each time we were told “no decision has yet been made”.

The Society believes that the DCMS’s record in this sad affair has been lamentable and wish to see the new Government resurrect the proposed Heritage Bill (quietly dropped by the Labour Government a year or so ago) which would remove the DCMS (and its transient Ministers) from the equation and allow English Heritage to be the final arbiter in listing and delisting decisions. We are well aware that the Minister at the DCMS at the time was heavily lobbied by the previous owners Rank and venture capitalists Cinven (the new owners of the Odeon and ABC cinema and theatre estates), (including a former Government Heritage Minister) and rather than accepting two separate reports from English Heritage recommending the Odeon’s protection and Grade II listing, she preferred to accept a professionally commissioned report from the owners on appeal. Cinven went on to sell off the Odeon /ABC to other cinema chains but sold the most valuable sites on to developers (including the Newcastle site) which is why they lobbied strongly to get listed status removed.

The Society’s concern is that if this can happen to the Odeon, which at the time considering its age was remarkably intact and certainly worthy of listing, other buildings are therefore potentially at risk. As owners (and councils) see no commercial advantage in retention, other buildings which currently have listed building protection could be at risk if they stand in the way of new development. They could have their listed status challenged and subsequently removed in the same way as the Odeon on appeal to the DCMS. In this way we could loose other important fine examples of art décor 20th century architecture on the Pilgrim Street site Carliol House and the Magistrates Court, a group of buildings which including the Odeon are arguably as important historically to the architectural heritage of Newcastle as the much valued Grainger Town.

To end on a more positive note, Brookfield have provisionally agreed an offer of financial support to capture all of the available information, be it photographic, written or spoken memories relating to the Paramount/Odeon over it’s 80 year lifespan; and to assist in the creation of an exhibition somewhere in the city, possibly leading to finding a permanent home for any memorabilia we can obtain from former employees and members of the public. We are certainly in agreement with Brookfield that IF the building must be lost to future generations, its sad demise MUST be recorded in a professional and complete manner. We have lost too many buildings in the past without proper studies being carried out. It is the least this fine historic building deserves. The Northumberland and Newcastle Society have offered our assistance in this initiative.

A more complete history of the Societies campaign to “ Preserve the Paramount” will be complied by John Matthews who was Chair of the Tyneside Committee at the time of the Odeon’s de-listing and will be posted along with his series of black and white images of the Paramount in 1931 in the near future.”

some interior photos taken on 25th May can be seen here:
View link

DLambert on January 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm

3Dfan posted: “http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-evening-chronicle/2010/01/22/curtain-to-fall-on-famous-old-city-buildings-72703-25656367/”

Crikey, thats even worse news than the inside of the Odeon, although the Bank Of England building is a mess. The outside of the Odeon isn’t anything amazing (does still have those Paramout logos at the top corners of course) but it could be put to use. Newcastle Council have always had this lack of regard for great buildings in the City.

DLambert on January 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

“In 1999 the Odeon was Grade II Listed with English Heritage stating ”[it is] The best surviving Paramount cinema in Britain, with well composed facade and rich interior with Lalique glass fittings"

According to The Evening Chronicle the inside has been gutted – its just blank brick walls. As the council say, the only thing saving it from demolition has now been removed. Well money and ‘progress’ is more important I suppose. Unfortunate that progress is glass and metal bland buildings. Great shame.

Cinefan on January 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

The building is going to be put to rest, according to this news article.

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According to this article, this, among many other buildings are to be demo'ed for a new project. Pray to Eneru that the plan doesn’t stop and it just leaves a gaping hole.

scrappynw on December 3, 2009 at 12:46 pm

anybody know the name of the security company/owners? was thinking of dropping them an email to see what the chances are of being able to go inside this fantastic looking building with a camera, i know what the likely answer would be but if you don’t try……..

paullewis on January 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm

The contrast between photo 1 posted by Lost Memory and the photo posted by Grainger taken last year shows that not only have our movie theatres been wrecked but the city centres as well! Where there was once a handsome Victorian/Edwardian building adjacent to the Odeon we now have some banal ugly bastard projecting out over the road. It’s not really surprising that the old theatres did not survive when the areas where they were built became steadily more and more seedy and unappealing in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and in some places it’s still going on! The once laudable profession of architecture is now one of the most discredited in modern history.

Cinefan on October 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Those pictures convey my meaning excatically.

I’ve never been back in since I’ve seen ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and frankly, I regret it majorly.

How I’d give to once again sit in the magic of Screen 1 and enjoy films there.

… Then again, that seems more like a dream since there is the 12-screen multiplex nearby, which people are more likely to go to, alongside the Tyneside Cinema. That is a Cinema, not a multiplex (But I do respect the right of a multiplex)

If I had the money, I would refurbish the cinema to it’s former glory, still with the 4 sub-divided screens, refurb the ODEON ‘shop’ to a combination mini shop selling magazines, the sorts AND still selling confectionary for the cinema.

Grainger on October 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Here are a couple of shots from further away taken on October 6th 2008

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I wonder if any one has been inside recently?

I would love to see what the interior is looking like.

Cinefan on September 24, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Well, the building is still empty and unused. I think it needs a new owner. The problem, the Save the Newcastle Paramount campaign is pretty quiet.

The building has been empty for so long it’s not funny anymore. Something needs to be put in it. Demolition is an option, but considering the grandness, Demo shouldn’t really be considered.