Odeon Byker

308 Shields Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2UU

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Odeon Byker

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne. The Regal Cinema was built for George Black and became one of the Black’s Regal chain of cinemas, and opened on 3rd September 1934 with William Powell and Bette Davis in “Fashions of 1934” plus a stage show.

Designed by Newcastle architect Edwin M. Lawson in an Art Deco style, building was located on a corner site, and was domindated by a tall square tower. Seating in the auditorium was provided for 1,152 in the stalls and 525 in the circle. The cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/6Ranks organ which was opened by organist J. Arnold Eagle.

The Regal Cinema was taken over by Circuit Management Association(CMA) later the Rank Organisation and re-named Odeon on 14th November 1955. The Compton organ was removed from the building in 1969, and was shipped to the Spanish island of Majorca. The Odeon was closed on 11th November 1972 with Robert Redford in "How To Steal a Diamond"(aka"The Hot Rock").

The building stood empty and unused for many years, as a bingo club licence was applied for, and refused. In 1982, it was gutted internally and converted into a supermarket, known as the Byker Superstore. This was a short lived venture, and it was closed and the building was demolished in early-1987. A Shell petrol station was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

A vintage photograph of the Odeon, playing the Rank release in April 1971:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 25, 2010 at 8:09 am

A vintage photograph of the Odeon in January 1958:
View link

Roboot on December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am

My Mother worked here for many years during the late 60’s and early 70’s. I spent many hours with her there, sitting next to her in the ticket boot, refreshments kiosk and helping to ‘take tickets’ and count the ice creams in the ‘fridge room’ even though I was only a child!

Needless to say I had great fun there and got to know the staff at the time and got to see all the latest releases. I remember the liner style deco interior and a glass observation screen up on the circle level at the top of a sweeping staircase.

The photo here from Mr Roe shows ‘The Jungle Book’ this is exactly the time that I’m describing and I was lucky enough to be given the cut out figures of the characters at the time – another great treat for a small child of the times.

nic1946 on August 10, 2014 at 3:29 am

My mother worked at this cinema as a cashier in the late 40’s, much later when we moved to Whitley Bay in the early 50’s I think I must have been 7 maybe 8 we had a neighbour who used to be the organist there and I can remember one morning with my newly acquired tape recorder going with him and sitting in the front of the circle recording while he played. I was also shown the organ chambers, amazing!

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