Odeon Halifax

Broad Street,
Halifax, HX1 1YA

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Odeon Halifax

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The Halifax Odeon opened on 27th June 1938 with Errol Flynn in “The Perfect Speciman”. It is bounded by Orange Street, Broad Street, and Great Albion Street. The architect was George Coles and it cost £59,727 to build. It had 1,344 stalls seats and 714 in the balcony giving a total of 2,058. A most unusual façade remains intact with three concave bays covered with buff faience tiles, above the entrance each containing a convex window. A tall Art Deco style tower formerly had the Odeon lettering illuminated by neon. It was however not originally intended for the Odeon circuit, but was a take over during construction, which explains its differences from the typical ‘Odeon’ style.

The cinema had a wide proscenium and a stylish interior with decoration dominated by two large bas-relief female figures either side of the screen. Lighting was entirely indirect.

The Odeon Cinema closed on 18th October 1975 with “Confessions of a Pop Performer”. and stood unused for a while. It was later converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club which is still operating, under a different name, today.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

Hi Terry and Danny,

Just a thought. If the two of you would like to meet up for a real “catch-up” and some refreshment, you’d be most welcome at my little Odeon in York. I don’t know from where Danny would have to travel, but if York would make a meeting feasible or easier, please feel free to head here.
Just let me know what you both think.

Best wishes, James

FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 27, 2015 at 1:21 am

Hi Danny – No worries! Hope to welcome the two of you one day to the smallest Odeon.

terry on April 27, 2015 at 7:08 am

Hi Danny

Just a ‘quick one’ for now (thinking back to Ann’s letter) as I am about to take the hound up to Waldridge Fell, one of our many local beauty spots, before the bright sunshine turns to snow……….

I wonder what happened to ‘The Dynamic Duo’, Ken and Ann the Management at the Odeon……they were rather different to dour old Jim Thompson at the ABC, weren’t they?

I expect to hear from one of my old mates, Frank Chambers, the last Manager of the ABC (he and his wife come to stay from time to time), who retired recently from the Grand Theatre Leeds. I shall ask him about Brian Whiteley who, I suspect, will now be in that ‘Art Deco Palace in the sky’. Certainly George Crosland is long departed along with all the rest of the ABC Huddersfield team. The last time I saw Brian was at ABC Darlington (now the Odeon – how things change!) when he and the District Engineer turned up to carry out an installation; he had a ‘cuppa’ in the office with the secretary and me and then went about his duties………

They were very happy days at Halifax, Danny and I often think back to them, not least because I was still young and good looking – at least according to Ann…………

FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 28, 2015 at 1:36 am

Danny, Would that be the Ken Close who was the management trainee before me at York Odeon in ‘66 with George (ex Halifax Odeon) Shepheard. We overlapped by only a couple of weeks but I can’t recall where he was posted as a fully-fledged assistant/relief manager prior to becoming a manager. Maybe there were just too many Kens and Jameses around!

terry on April 28, 2015 at 7:25 am

Hi Danny

2 days in succession on here which may be regarded as sad by some…..

I shall give you my e-mail address as I do not imagine the readers on here will be interested in my personal life :–

I also have an A***book page(!):–


I am registered on Twitter too but I have heard too many tales of people getting into trouble by expressing their views on there and, as I would most likely fall into that category, I avoid it. In actual fact the sole reason for my registering was to support a former projectionist of mine, Steven, who, funnily enough, trained at the original Odeon (Blacks Regal) Gateshead and he was with me at the super ABC Westgate Road Newcastle which you would have loved as it had everything including 70mm in BOTH auditoria. The main auditorium still retained the cine variety stage although, apart from occasional personal appearances etc, it was never used after twinning.

Butterflying back to Twitter, however, Steven was absolutely besotted by the film ‘Oliver’ and years ago he created a really extensive website for the film which he keeps adding to (no financial assistance from Columbia, by the way)and it requires such a great bandwidth that he ran out of hosts. Finally he had to resort to Twitter and he asked me and various others to subscribe just for the sake of his website.

Re Ken Close, the last time I saw him was decades ago at ABC Huddersfield when he came to see one of those disaster films that were all the rage back then. I have never seen him since.

When Odeon Halifax closed, the Manager of the Odeon in my home town of Bishop Auckland, a lovely chap by the name of Walter Aylen, happened to pass away; Ken had worked there with Walter at one time.

Life has to go on and all that, so I rang Ken, who had just received his redundancy notice, to tell him about Bishop Auckland and to get his application in if he wanted to stay with Rank. This he duly did and I think that he was in with a chance until it was announced that the Pavilion Newcastle was to be belatedly added to the massive closure list that included Halifax and thus the Manager of the Pavilion, Jim Stewart,was appointed at Bishop Auckland, unfortunately…….

Ironically, 7 years later, it was the Manager of Bishop Auckland Odeon, Doris Hart (she followed Jim in there when he went to Stockton), who rang me to tell me about the impending early retirement of Archie Heaton at ABC Darlington (she used to be A/M at the Odeon there) and for me to get MY application in as she knew I did not like being at Chester…..

James, if you happen to read the above, this answers your question re Ken Close and he was – hopefully still is – one and the same. I shall try to get down there again in the near future (Chester Le Street Station is literally yards from my house) and likewise you’ll have to visit here.

All the best for now to you both.


FanaticalAboutOdeon on April 28, 2015 at 8:26 am

Hi Terry,

Yes – ear to the ground! It must be THE Ken I’ve not seen for 49 years!!

You will, I think, have heard that Everyman are attempting to get the funds together (and Landlords' permissions) to acquire Odeons Barnet, Esher, Gerrards Cross and the iconic original Muswell Hill cinema from Odeon Cinemas Ltd.

I will hope to come to you within the next couple of weeks – hospital appointments permitting.

Best regards,


Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 22, 2015 at 2:49 am

danny18badel: Are you certain it was “Confessions of a Window Cleaner” as that was released in August 1974 and would have been an over one year ‘old’ film by the date of the Odeon closing? “Confessions of a Pop Performer” was released in July 1975.

Did Rank bring back ‘Window Cleaner’ or do we have the incorrect year of closing?

terry on May 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

It was ‘Confessions Of A Pop Performer’ as I was Relief Manager at the ABC Halifax that week and , mindful that it was the Odeon’s last ever programme, I recall typing it on ‘ABC Opposition Report Form No. 6 ’ (they were a bureaucratic lot). When I returned to base theatre, ABC Wigan, it was also playing there as, having no Odeon in the town, we played both releases.

The ‘Confessions’ films were ‘much of a muchness’, Danny, so it is not too surprising that you have mixed them up.The first one, ‘Window Cleaner’ I remember playing at ABC Wigan the previous year (the Court which played Rank releases having recently closed) and it was the only time I saw the 2280 seats all occupied!

‘Pop Performer’ did fairly well and the line that got the most sustained laughter, I recall, was Rita Webb asking Robin Askwith (referring to her daughter) if he had seen “her Fanny” and his reply about seeing ‘The Ghost Of Frankenstein’ being bad enough…………

When two further sequels appeared, namely ‘Driving Instructor’ and ‘Holiday Camp’ I was by then in locations where there was an Odeon but I think that the returns were only fair. However, being cheaply made, I am sure that the producers (and Columbia as distributor) made a decent net profit on the four ventures.

terry on May 25, 2015 at 6:47 am

Hi Danny

Mecca are one of the few remaining arms of the Leisure Division of the mighty Rank Organisation who, upon acquiring Mecca Bingo, dropped ‘Top Rank’ in favour of ‘Mecca’ ; a very odd decision in my opinion but the powers that be considered the ‘Mecca’ brand to be more readily identifiable with the ‘Nation’s Pastime’ (not one of mine, I hasten to add).

I am sure that if the box is still accessible and safe to enter that they would allow someone to take photos although Ken Roe will be in a better position to say for certain.

The same goes for you in the health, happiness and wisdom departments!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

The Cinema Theatre Association (CTA) visited the Mecca Bingo Club (former Odeon Halifax) a couple of years ago. I don’t think we were allowed access into the former projection box. I certainly didn’t get in there to take photos. Maybe former projectionist have photographs of the projection box, or another source is possibly the CTA archive (although photos of projection boxes back in the day are quite rare).

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