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Firms: Whinney, Son & Austen Hall
Styles: Art Deco
An early Odeon - the 7th new building constructed by the chain - which opened on 24th March 1934 with Cicely Courtneidge in “Aunt Sally”. The architects were Whinney, Son & Austin Hall.
One of the finest exteriors of the original Odeon buildings, this island site cinema was a triumph of the sleek curved deco Odeon style, and was the first to utilise the house style of faience and brick. As it was located just off the main shopping street a tower was designed with the name (back illuminated at night) to draw attention to the cinema.
There was a large cafe, in a curved extension in front of the cinema with the foyer slightly recessed behind.
The auditorium was an ideal shape - wide and slightly fan shaped - with seating provided for 1,076 in the stalls and 455 in the circle. It contained a huge four layered pedulent light fitting in the centre of the ceiling. Other decoration was rather sparce, rather too small panels were placed above the front stalls exit doors.
The Odeon had a 3Manual/6Rank Compton organ with an illuminated console on a lift in the centre of the orchestra pit, which was opened by organist Henry Winfield.
From the start the Odeon Worthing was massive success. At 32,500 pounds, it was the second most expensive to build to date for the chain, but soon showed its worth.
It was tripled in June 1974 (Rank’s usual drop wall treatment leaving the circle and front stalls intact). Screen 1 has 450 seats and 2 and 3 (under the balcony) 120 seats each.
It was closed on 27th September 1986 for redevelopment. But a surprise came to the developers in January 1987 when the building was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage. This delayed the start of any redevelopment and a legal battle ensued. Sadly, the developers won through and towards the end of the year it was De-listed and swiftly demolished in late-1987. Part of a shopping mall and offices stand on the site today.
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