Odeon Bristol

71 Union Street,
Bristol, BS1 2DS

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Odeon Cinemas Group (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Odeon Cinemas Group

Previously operated by: Odeon Theatre Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: Thomas Cecil Howitt

Functions: Movies (First Run), Supermarket

Styles: Art Deco

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440871.224.4007

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News About This Theater

Odeon Bristol

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 fa├žade 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.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 4, 2008 at 7:21 pm

A newspaper story about the unsolved murder of the manager of the Odeon in 1946, plus a small photo of the entrance from the 1970’s:
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Photographed in 1982, as a three-screen cinema:
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A photograph of Broadmead, showing the Odeon in 1965, playing the Rank release:
A March 2008 photograph, showing the Odeon cinema, its entrance now on the left hand side in Union Street. The original entrance now serves an H&M store, located in the former stalls area:

CSWalczak on October 31, 2012 at 3:34 am

Here is a picture of the Odeon Bristol during the run of “South Pacific.”

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on February 4, 2015 at 9:32 am

While in general terms it may be said that the new cinemas of 1985 occupy the circle area, in fact the entire building was gutted and totally rebuilt within the original shell. The current cinemas are side by side and at ninety degrees to the original layout with the screens on the right hand side wall of the original auditorium.

Momill on February 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

I worked at Western Theatre Control in 1949 untol 1955, my office was located at the back of theatre, i accessed it through the auditorium on the right, we also had a door by the carpark. Pat Derrick was the asst. manager, mt Beaucham was the manager. I worked for Mr. Laurie Crews district manager and Mr Crankshaw District Engineer, loved it there, did a short time at Odeon Bedminster to

rivest266 on August 31, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Rare full-page Grand opening ad posted.

FB on August 13, 2023 at 9:26 am

The new tenant beneath the Odeon is a Lidl supermarket.

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