Drake Odeon

15 Derry's Cross,
Plymouth, PL1 2SW

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Showing 18 comments

dyvroeth on August 29, 2015 at 10:21 am

Bit of a pedantry here… I don’t think the symbol on the map shows where the Drake was. The picture in the article was taken from the north side of Union Street at the west end of Derry’s roundabout, looking up the one-way street coming down the hill.

(I believe the symbol is actually showing the location of the ABC – fond memories of seeing Supertramp play there in 1975, I think it was).

Bill_Gibbs on December 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

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

CSWalczak on September 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm

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

Ian on August 6, 2012 at 12:54 am

Yes Simon, the Gaumont still stands.

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



Simon Overton
Simon Overton on February 28, 2012 at 12:45 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?

Biffaskin on February 27, 2012 at 2:24 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’.

Michael Williams
Michael Williams on September 10, 2010 at 6:35 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

keiths on January 20, 2010 at 7:50 am

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

Ian on August 19, 2007 at 11:48 am

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

HowardBHaas on August 19, 2007 at 11:06 am

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?

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 19, 2007 at 10:35 am

What a beautiful theater and memorable Compton organ… all gone!

As a boy living in Southampton, I fondly remember listening to the BBC radio morning broadcasts of “As Prescribed” featuring none other than the memorable Dudley Savage.
How he managed to create all of the console’s different sound settings, play the tunes, announce listeners requests and keep a cool head was truly remarkable AND fit everything into a professionally timed and presented programme!

And now the cinema is all but a memory. I recall seeing “Network” there in the mid 70’s. Excellent film but the volume?…I think the audience at the ABC Cinema could have heard it too.

For Pete’s sake, why didn’t they save the structure and build over it, there by saving a piece of Plymouth’s history which survived WW2? Every hotel needs a ballroom and the Drake’s auditorium was perfect for needs such as this. D.U.M.B.!!!

Ian on September 14, 2006 at 5:38 am

Another exterio picture from 1991 here :

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 14, 2006 at 2:03 am

The Drake Cinema opened on 5th June 1958 with “South Pacific” presented in 70mm/Todd-AO. It had a seating capacity of 1,639.

It was tripled in March 1975 and further sub-divided into five screens in April 1991.

After closing in October 1999, the building remained empty until it was demolished in 2002. The Grosvenor Casino was built on the site and it opened in 2003.

Here is a photograph from April 1971 when still a single screen:
View link

kevinp on August 21, 2005 at 3:34 am

Here’s a very good link by a dedicated and upset local !



kev p

woody on February 6, 2004 at 7:30 am

this cinema has now been demolished but the model ship from the frontage has been saved to be incorporated into the replacement building

MovieMan26 on December 19, 2003 at 10:08 am

The drake opened in 1958,the first movie shown there was “SOUTH PACIFIC”. The cinema closed on october 31st 1999, the last movie shown there was “BIG DADDY”

MovieMan26 on December 18, 2003 at 4:11 pm

Drake photos coming soon!