71 King Street,
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This cinema has had more owners than most, starting of as an original Oscar Deutsch built Odeon in 1936, before passing through Star Cinemas(1971), Cannon, Virgin(1995), ABC(1996) and finally an enterprising independent - Northern Morris Associated Cinemas(2003).
The Odeon was designed by architect W. Calder Robson from the Harry Weedon practice and opened on 7th November with Gary Cooper in “Mr Deeds Goes to Town”. There were 950 stalls and 642 circle seats. The auditorium was very pleasant with a wide proscenium preceded by a metal fret-work feature which ran up the side walls and across the ceiling. Lighting was indirect from plaster troughs across the ceiling and around the proscenium arch. The circle had extended arms providing emergency exits from the screen end of the cinema at the balcony level.
The exterior was less successful with an elegant ‘Odeon’ style facade to King Street but some very unflattering views of the bulky auditorium from every other side! A tall slender faiance tiled fin with the Odeon lettering prominent at the top, and a row of shops were provided in the scheme.
Taken over by the Star Cinemas chain from 3rd January 1971, they divided the building with bingo in the stalls and a twin cinema seating 250 and 246 in the circle. The foyer was split to provided separate entrances to each section. The twin cinemas opened on 12th August 1971 as the Studio 1 & 2 Cinemas.
This arrangement continued for many years and the cinemas were later taken over by the Cannon Group, then by Virgin and in May 1996 by ABC. They were taken over by Odeon Cinemas in 2000, and and the cinemas closed on 1st September 2002. Taken over by the Northern Morris chain, they re-opened on 17th January 2003 as the Regal Cinemas
In 2001 a 6-screen multiplex had been constructed in Church Street. The operator pulled out before its opening, and the new cinemas lay empty, despite Northern Morris, the operator of the Regal Cinemas, expressing an interest in taking it over. However it found an operator when Vue took over, opening on 25th August 2006.
Sadly, when the Vue multiplex opened, Northern Morris reluctantly closed the Regal Cinemas in August 2006, with one of the screens playing Samuel L. Jackson in “Snakes on a Plane”. In February 2007, the Gala Bingo Club in the former stalls area also closed, leaving the building unused and it was put up ‘For Sale’.
The City council planning committee have since given permission for the site to be redeveloped as a 115-bed roomed Travelodge and retail units, to begin a new era for the site.
It was demolished in January 2010.
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