Weston-super-Mare's Odeon cinema, designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt, is a stunning landmark building in a starkly beautiful modernist style with a tower typical of vintage Odeon buildings, tiled in a striking cream faiance. Opened in 1935, it was tripled in 1973 in the usual Odeon style (main screen in circle and front stalls; two smaller screens beneath the circle) and a fourth screen added in 1991 by splitting screen 1.
The building is now Grade II* listed.
Cinema Treasures - Odeon Weston-super-Mare.
Cinemas In Britain by Richard Gray (ISBN 0-85331-685-6).
Weston-super-Mare also used to have a Gaumont cinema, now demolished. Pictures available at Odeon Cavalcade.
1949 (© Odeon Cavalcade):
1972 (© Odeon Cavalcade):
The Odeon Weston-super-Mare is extremely unusual in that its original Compton organ not only still exists but is still played on certain occasions. This is one of only two original cinema organs still in use in their original working cinemas anywhere in the UK, the other being the flagship Odeon Leicester Square. The organ and console are located in their original locations, in what is now Screen 4 - the front half of the original stalls.
There are two organ chambers - accompaniment to the left of the proscenium, including vibraphone and percussion, and solo to the right, including other chimes and a rare Solo Cello unit.
The auditorium, despite subdivision, has survived partially intact, right down to its original Odeon wall clock. It's quite a treat to hear the organ played in such an environment. English Heritage Viewfinder has photographs of the Odeon Weston-super-Mare from the John Maltby Collection, which shows that some of the more decorative plasterwork around the outer edges of the proscenium has been covered up or destroyed; originally, too, there was a second Odeon clock to the right of the screen. One thing that the Maltby photographs - taken on its opening weekend - do show clearly is how well-designed the exterior "night-architecture" of this building was, with the original red neon strips brilliantly showing off the cinema's modernist lines.
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This page last updated 10th March 2007.