Gaumont Birmingham

Colmore Circus, Steelhouse Lane,
Birmingham, B4 6AR

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

rivest266 on July 8, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

terry on December 31, 2020 at 10:26 am

The Gaumont’s Cinerama screen, whilst having the largest sheet size in the UK (84' x 34' = 2,856 square feet) did not have the greatest width which was that at the ABC Coliseum Glasgow , namely 90'. The screen depth at Glasgow, however, was only 30' giving it only 2,700 square feet overall.

Siddique on December 31, 2020 at 6:25 am

I saw saw ALIEN in this cinema in my home town of Birmingham UK in September of 1979 on the first day of key city release. In those days new movies officially opened on a Sunday In the UK (strange!) and I was there for the first screening in the afternoon. The queue literally went round the whole building. Couldn’t get into that screening so had to wait in line for 2 hrs for the next one. Once in, the atmosphere was electric And the tension fantastic. The jump moments were really effective with a full 2000 seat capacity crowd. This was once the largest screen (Not auditorium) in Europe.. the opening was really effective and that music was so evocative of a serious horror film as opposed to a slasher flick. I also saw The Black Hole, The Empire Strikes Back here around the same time.

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on March 17, 2018 at 10:12 am

The conversion to three strip Cinerama was an expensive waste of money. ABC had already converted the ABC Bristol Road and had access to the best film in the process (How the West Was Won). The Gaumont opened with Cinerama Holiday, played it for nine weeks and then closed again for ten days while the 3 strip kit was ripped out and replaced with 70mm for the opening of It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World on December 26th, which at least could be advertised as “in Cinerama” (albeit single lens). In June 1964 when The Fall of the Roman Empire opened, the Cinerama tag had to be dropped.

Wurlitzer420 on December 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm

The organ was remmoved to the abbey hall Abingdon. Now it will be installed by the Penistone cinema organ trust in Barnsley. It will be added to several other cinema organs, this makinng it the largest Compon theatre organ in the world

Robbie25646 on September 9, 2012 at 5:03 am

I used to go regularly in the id 1950s as a child, Wonderful memories of a great theatre.

Johncine on November 7, 2011 at 2:55 am

June 15th 1980 is a day long-remembered. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK premiered it’s run here. Two months before, I saw THE BLACK HOLE on opening day here as well and was amongst the audience blown away by the EMPIRE teaser trailer. I also saw STAR WARS / EMPIRE double bill, DRAGONSLAYER and ROBIN HOOD on reissue. A big-screen sadly missed now, but one of my favourite places of all time. ROCKY II replaced THE BLACK HOLE after three weeks.

Mike_Blakemore on October 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I have load a picture of the original Stage… Hope enjoy

chrisjones on May 6, 2009 at 8:18 am

For a 12 year old kid just getting into cinema, this cinema could not be matched. I remember seeing ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ 8 times on that huge screen. It had an exclusive presentation there before going on general release in the Midlands. Great memories.

keiths on February 19, 2009 at 11:06 am

I saw ‘Close Encounters’ at the Gaumont on its first release, and ‘boy’ was that screen big!!

smoothie on March 21, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Ken,according to the CT search index, the Odeon,Queensway ain’t listed. Or is it me?

Did you notice on the photo that the Scala had become the “Cala” as the downward “S” had dropped off! I can think of some pubs locally that had that happen, but the resulting name got a bit risque. LOL

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 21, 2008 at 9:34 am

Smoothie; Thanks for that great photo of the Scala Superama/Odeon Queensway. You are allowed to post it at the Odeon Queensway, Birmingham page here:

smoothie on March 21, 2008 at 9:19 am

Scala Superama(later Odeon,Queensway) 1966 photo from one of my local history sites here:–

I haven’t forgotten about making up a profile about this one, nor some of the many West Midlands' theatres i’ve promised to do.I’ll find a space in my busy existence as soon as possible!

smoothie on February 17, 2008 at 2:06 am

Whoa! I’ve found this all-colour thingy from 1965:
It’s not a Cinerama movie(on the largest screen then in Europe) but Julie Andrews in her 3 year marathon at this Cinerama house in “The Sound of Money”(quote:Pauline Kael).SuperCOLOURfragilistic eh?
I’ll sign autographs later for discovering this one LOL

smoothie on January 23, 2008 at 10:09 am

Everyone-i’ve started a marathon info exercise for everyone on the Odeon (New St) Birmingham page, which spills over into details about the Gaumont and-shortly-the Scala Superama/Odeon Queensway/Compton nudie movie emporium.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 16, 2007 at 3:31 am

Nicky; I have now added the two buildings which became the Odeon Queensway:

NickyCampbell on November 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Hi there, i’m looking for information on the old Odeon cinema on Queensway, I work at the recently (last year)opened Oceana Nightclub (which used to be Zanzibar), and below it is an old Odeon, which, with a torch, have been down to a couple of times and I was amazed by it, i saw where the screen and seats used to be, the projection and sound room, hotdog stand (still with the signs). But I cannot find any history information or photos of it when it was open. I read that “projcampbell” used to work there so if you or anyone has any info they can give me that would be fantastic!!!

kevinp on April 30, 2007 at 9:30 pm

Paul , and others in their quest, I am positive there was a book issued about 6 years ago…. I have to try and trackitdown at home (hidden somewhere in a 100 books/booklets and about 300 post-cards on cinemas. !)

However, you may well want to check out ( and join !) The Mercia Cinema Society, which, funnily enough was started by 4 people in Birmingham, but covers all the UK and further afield

also, check out The CTA, Cinema Theatre Association


Kev P

BRIANCAMPBELL on January 7, 2006 at 11:11 am

Yes please Grechenka would love piccys.Please email them to .The Savoy,Breedon Cross,Kings Norton in 1946 was a 950 seater.Owned by Parry Amalgamations Ltd,Sheepcote Street.BTH equipment with a 25ft proscenium.Many thanks.Brian.

Grechenka on January 7, 2006 at 1:51 am

Brian, Many, many thanks for your email. Some six or more months ago I asked if anyone had a photograph of the Kings Norton Cinema (known as the ‘KN’) – but without response. However, coincidenatally, one arrived this morning from the Kings Norton Historical Society. Additionally, they sent a photograph of the ‘Savoy’ (another local cinema, but known as the ‘fleapit’). Should you wish me to forward these photographs to you, please let me know. Kindest, Grechenka.

BRIANCAMPBELL on January 6, 2006 at 8:47 am

Hi Grechenka,
Yes must be 10-15 years at least since Odeon Queensway closed.The Kings Norton Cinema as of 1946 used Western Electric equipment.Proprietors Kings Norton Picture House Co.Ltd The Green.Seating capacity 1,142. Ticket prices from 10d to 2s 3d.Shows continuous dailey. This cinema was fitted with Ardente deaf aids. Hope that is some use to you.Regards, Brian.

Grechenka on January 6, 2006 at 6:34 am

I noticed your posting re: firstly the Odeon, Queensway. I was In Birmingham in September and was amazed the place has the ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’ signs still up. How long is it now since it closed – got to be 10 years? The book you mention, I would love any information you may have on the ‘King’s Norton Cinema'on the outskirts of Birmingham. A large cinema, now demolished, I think it was part of the Clifton Cinemas chain.

BRIANCAMPBELL on January 6, 2006 at 2:52 am

With ref to Paul Smith and Chris Perman’s enquiries re cinema’s in Birmingham, I have in my possession a copy of KINEMATOGRAPH YEAR BOOK 1946.
Besides other theatre information this book lists all cinema’s in the British Isles in operation that year with seating capacities,proprieters,address,ticket prices and type of projection system for most of them.(There were 100 in Brum).
If of any use please email me.

BRIANCAMPBELL on January 3, 2006 at 10:00 am

I worked part time as projectionist at the Queensway (then the Odeon Queensway) in 1972. Projection then was standard frontal using two 70mm Itallian Victoria projectors. The suite was state of art with a separate room with full controls to sit down and run a show.
A few doors away there was a risque cine club, under same ownership which used rear projection,three mirrors as I recall, two Victoria’s, 35mm.

pitbull on December 26, 2005 at 5:12 am

With reference to rear projection, as mentioned by JdEspiney. The Queensway at Holloway Head also had rear projection. I’m not sure if that was when it was the Scala, but it certainly did at some time.