Thursday, 18 July 2013

An odious end to the Odeon...

The wonderful 1930s Odeon cinema (above and below) on Oxford Street heard its death knell sound in the 1990s with the the rise of the multiplex cinemas, and it has lain neglected for years. 

Its fine Art Deco features are doubtless fading inside as well as out. It could have been reinvented as a gallery, a museum, public performance space, community hub, hey even as a cinema, but no... Instead it is now being demolished and another unneeded, ugly and inappropriate glass and steel corporate office block will stomp on its grave. 

The monolithic office block in progress next door to it, branded as "One St. Peter's Square" started the rot in the area. It has pretended to fit in with the Art Deco surroundings by using a 1930s font in its branding but I can't see much in keeping with the rest of St. Peter's Square about it. I admit it is replacing a post-World War II commercial block which looked shabby and almost pre-fab, but is this any better?- it will dwarf its neighbours such as The Midland Hotel and the Central Reference Library.

Worse still, on its other side the discreet and 1934 iconic Century House (second photo below) is also going to be demolished. No consultation, just torn down and yet another office block thrown up. The soul is being ripped out building by building, and no-one listened to the opposition in the community...


  1. Our Odeon in Coventry happily was taken over by Coventry University and turn into performing arts space. Thank goodness. Miss the grand cinema though.

  2. A real shame. The Oxford Road Odeon had a real traditional feel and ambience to it. And it had free posters in the lobby. I remember one time... I think it was Gangs of New York in 2003... Me and my uni mates traversed a row of seats in the darkness before the trailers. I was at the front of us, and I walked onto something in the footwell. It moved, and rose up in front of us like I'd stepped on the handle of a broom. It was a homeless guy. He paused in front of us all, like some kind of Mancunian vagrant spectre, then barged past us and out into the lobby.

    It isn't as easy to sleep in the Printworks. Or, I gather.

  3. So Century House is the one in the background of my photo then. The square looked a mess last time I was there.


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