71 Union Street,
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Odeon Cinemas Group (Official)
Operated by: Odeon Cinemas Group
Architects: Thomas Cecil Howitt
Styles: Art Deco
News About This Theater
Built on the site of the original Fry’s Chocolate factory at the corner of Union Street and Nelson Street in Bristol city centre. This Odeon was one of the original Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. The Odeon opened on 16th July 1938 with Deanna Durbin in "Mad About Music". The cinema had a large rotunda corner entrance located on Union Street at the corner of Nelson Street. The façade is covered with cream faience tiles with bands of green tiles. Inside the auditorium, the original seating capacity was provided for 1,945; 1,051 in the stalls and 894 in the circle. The decorative scheme was stepped bands of plaster in the ceiling which contained concealed lighting troughs.
The Odeon was closed for two weeks in December 1940, due to bomb damage. On 29th May 1946 the Odeon manager Robert Parrington Jackson was murdered by being shot twice in his office. A bullet to the head caused the fatality. It is still an unsolved crime today. The Odeon was modernised in 1967, receiving the infamous Rank Organisation ‘Zing’ treatment which removed most of the decorative features. Converted into a triple screen cinema from 27th May 1974 with 844 seats in the former balcony screen and two mini-screens in the former rear stalls seating 108 and 103.
The Odeon closed on 15th October 1983 for a redevelopment which gutted the interior of the building. The former stalls area and original entrance foyer was converted into a Mothercare store and a new three-screen cinema opened in the former circle area. Re-opening on 13th June 1985 with the James Bond film "A View To A Kill" showing in all three screens. Seating was now provided for a total of 840; with 400, 225 and 215 seats. A new entrance to the cinema was provided on Union Street and the architect for the re-construction was Donald Armstrong of the architectural firm; Dowton & Hurst. Mothercare moved out and by 2016 it had become a H&M clothing store. They moved out around 2019 and in March 2021 the former entrance foyer and stalls area was being prepared for its next tenant, a Lidl supermarket.
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