Odeon Luton

127 Dunstable Road, Bury Park,
Luton, LU1 1BW

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Odeon Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: Andrew Mather, Keith P. Roberts

Functions: Church

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Odeon Luton

Built for Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres Ltd., the Odeon Theatre opened on 12th October 1938 with Sabu in "The Drum". The building is located away from Luton town centre in the Bury Park district. Designed by architect Keith P. Roberts of the Andrew Mather practice, the entrance was covered in cream tiles and had a tower feature. The auditorium ran parallel to Dunstable Road and was a plain brick block, relieved only by ten vertical bands of brick and cream tiles at the lower lever.

Inside, the decoration was streamline, with bands of concealed lighting on the ceiling of the auditorium, which provided seating for 1,332 in the stalls and 626 in the circle. The cinema had a cafe for the convenience of its patrons.

The Odeon was converted into a triple screen cinema in November 1974 and closed on 4th June 1983, screening "Local Hero", "Tootsie" and "Silver Dream Racer".

The building was de-tripled and converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club which opened in July 1983. It was later re-named Mecca Bingo, which led to protests from the local Muslim population in the town, who assembled outside the building, smashing windows. Under pressure, the name ‘Mecca’ was removed from the front of the building, although it was retained inside. The bingo operation closed in late January 1999 and the building was given a Grade II Listed building consent by English Heritage in March 1999.

It sat empty and unused until it re-opened as the Calvary Church of God in Christ on 9th February 2001.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2007 at 5:59 am

A vintage photograph of the Odeon, playing the Odeon release films in November 1949 (note the temporary advertsinig board over the entrance which obscures the ‘Odeon’ neon sign):
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A close-up view of the entrance in April 1971 when playing the Rank release:
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Ian on February 5, 2008 at 7:52 am

Three exterior shots of the Odeon here:–

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 21, 2009 at 10:35 am

A vintage photograph of the auditorium, as viewed from the circle in 1965:
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Alan Baker
Alan Baker on May 26, 2016 at 6:21 am

Bingo took over the Odeon after the ex-Gaumont burned down and Rank applied to have the licence transferred. The cinema had been profitable, but not as profitable as the eyes down brigade.

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