Drake Odeon

15 Derry's Cross,
Plymouth, PL1 2SW

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Drake Odeon, Plymouth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The cinema was named the Drake, a name made famous by a former mayor, seafarer and citizen of Plymouth, Sir Francis Drake. The large model of a sailing galleon on front of the building was a replica of one used in the Spanish Armada from 1588.

The Drake Cinema was built, owned and operated by 20th Century Fox from its opening on 5th June 1958, until 26th March 1961, when it was taken over by the Rank Organisation and became one of their ‘Odeons’. The single screen cinema had a seating capacity for 1,639 in stalls and circle levels.

The Drake Odeon was tripled in March 1975, with seating for 946 in the stalls and two screens in the former circle, each seating 168. Closed in October 1999, it was demolished in 2002 and a Grosvenor Casino was built on the site, opening in 2003.

Contributed by Aaron Wood

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 19, 2007 at 2:06 pm

A comment says the model ship in front was retrieved for use in the replacement building. Was it reused? on the exterior? photo anybody?

Was the main original screen still used after the theater was divided up?

Ian
Ian on August 19, 2007 at 2:48 pm

The original proscenium was used with a smaller screen installed in it. Not very satisfactory!

keiths
keiths on January 20, 2010 at 10:50 am

I wonder if the DP70’s were still there when it closed?

Michael Williams
Michael Williams on September 10, 2010 at 9:35 am

June 1958. I was there, as a lowly rewind boy on holiday from the Olympia Cardiff, I was able to get a ticket for the Birth of Todd AO at this theatre. I was allowed to vist the “Box” prior to the show and fell in love with those wonderful DP70s I went into the auditorium with the intro to “South Pacific” treating my ears to a sound system never heard before, and then——-those wide curtains swept open treating me to a new genre of film projection. On my return to Cardiff I raved about Todd AO and Foxes wonderful new cinema, then it was suddenly announced that my home cinema (Olympia Cardiff)m was to be fitted with DP70s. Thus started rhe most memorable period of my life. Even now over fifty years later I still get a thrill out of the original Todd Films

Biffaskin
Biffaskin on February 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

The Galleon on the original Drake Cinema was retained, and returned to the facade of the Casino. I managed to go to this cinema, and the ABC several times when I was able to… if you looked up the exit stairs to where the projection room was, you could still see the original Fox Theatres carpet on the treads.

I don’t remember Rank ever owning the building outright. They leased it off of The Prudential, who had bought the freehold off of Fox. They (Fox) had stipulated that the ‘Drake’ name should not be removed, hence it was known as the ‘Drake Odeon’.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on February 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

When I lived in Plymouth, in the mid 1970’s, the former Gaumont Cinema (across the road) was operating as a night club. Is that structure still there?

Ian
Ian on August 6, 2012 at 3:54 am

Yes Simon, the Gaumont still stands.

Two recently found photos of the interior of the Drake here, both date from 1991.

DRAKE SCREEN CURTAINS

DRAKE AUDITORIUM TO REAR

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 17, 2012 at 1:23 am

According to this webpage, the theatre eventually had five screens before it closed: View link

Bill_Gibbs
Bill_Gibbs on December 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

One of the last truly magnificent cinemas to have been constructed in the UK!

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater