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Firms: Verity and Beverley
Previous Names: Paramount Theatre
- Palace Theatre
- New Oxford Theatre
- Gaumont Manchester
- Manchester Hippodrome Theatre
- Cornerhouse Cinemas
News About This Theater
The Paramount Theatre was built in 1930 to the designs of architects Frank T. Verity & Samuel Beverley for the U.K. arm of the American Paramount Theatres Ltd. chain. The Manchester Paramount Theatre was a sumptuous American import.
Verity & Beverley were Paramount Theatre’s chosen architects for their U.K. enterprise – they were also responsible for the Paramount Leeds, Paramount Newcastle-on-Tyne, Paramount Glasgow, Paramount Liverpool, Paramount Birmingham and Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, London. Their architect’s practice continues today as Verity-Beverley.
Originally containing 2,920 seats in orchestra, mezzanine and balcony levels, the Paramount Theatre was the largest of Manchester’s picture palaces to survive as a cinema. It opened on 6th October 1930 with Maurice Chevalier in “The Love Parade”, plus a variety show on stage starring Gaston & Andre: ‘Sensational adagio dancers from Paris’. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 4Manual/20Ranks theatre organ. The Paramount Theatre also had a café for the convenience of its patrons.
In 1938 the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. were in the planning stage of building an Odeon Theatre on Oxford Street, to be designed by Harry Weedon, but those plans were scrapped, when in November 1939, the Paramount Theatres (UK) circuit was obtained by Oscar Deutsch’s chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. and it was re-named Odeon in April 1940. It was twinned in 1973, triplexed in 1979 with a further four screens created in 1992.
The cinema was closed in September 2004 due to competition from the AMC Great Northern 16, which had opened nearby in December 2001. In Autumn of 2010, plans were approved by Manchester City Council to demolish the former Paramount/Odeon and redevelop the site for an office building. Preparation for demolition work began in late-June 2013, but demolition work wasn’t commenced until August 2016, and then only a little was done mainly to the interior. Total demolition began in April 2017 and was hoped be completed in June 2017. In mid-June demolition work was halted after the demolition company encountered a few problems.
After the site was cleared in late-2017, a new Weatherspoon’s pub opened on the ground floor in the new building on the site. To pay homage to the cinema, the pub was called ‘The Paramount’ and images of the former Paramount/Odeon feature on the pub walls.
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