Odeon Harlow

The High,
Harlow, CM20 1JJ

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Odeon Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Firms: T.P. Bennett & Son

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Odeon Harlow

This was the first new cinema to be built for Rank after the war (others were completions of pre-war schemes) and it opened on February 1, 1960 with "Follow A Star".

It was designed by T. P. Bennett & Son and had 1,244 seats on a single floor in the stadium plan, with a stepped raised section at the rear instead of the normal overhanging balcony. The projection suite was suspended above the raised section of seating and had an almost level throw to the large screen.

In June 1987, it closed for tripling and the raised section at the rear was converted into two smaller cinemas whilst the front retained the original box and screen.

The Odeon was refurbished in 2001 and rebranded with the new Odeon style. This was despite the competition from a six-screen multiplex which opened back in 1990. Its future looked hopeful, however it was closed in August 2005. It was purchased days after closing by a local businessman, and the building still sits empty and unused in 2015.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 16, 2005 at 12:04 am

A recent photo of the front stalls auditorium here:
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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 26, 2005 at 6:48 am

The Odeon Harlow closed on 29th August 2005.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 14, 2005 at 6:29 am

An exterior photograph taken in August 1985, courtesy of Jeremy Perkins taken from the Cinema Theatre Association website:
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Ian on January 19, 2007 at 5:40 am

Early in 2007 the former Odeon remains unused and boarded up. All signs and branding have been stripped from the exterior of the cinema.

Ian on November 23, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Boarded up in November 2007 – and a shot of the rear of the building here:–

View link

View link

speed on November 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Main screen: View link

Second Screen: View link

Projection room: View link

Mwaura on February 15, 2010 at 11:45 am

i am looking for the managing agents of the odeon cinema building in harlow.

Mozza on April 16, 2010 at 8:48 am

Duardo, email here b.ghadamiGusman Center for the Performing Artsagency.com

Alan Baker
Alan Baker on March 25, 2015 at 9:17 am

The description of “single floor” and “rear stalls” is not accurate. The auditorium was laid out with a stepped stadium section at the rear housing wider seats with more leg room (3ft 3in) compared to the front stalls section (2ft 9in) and separated from it by a barrier. This stepped section became the location of the new cinemas after tripling, which meant that they inherited the greater legroom compared to the front stalls which became screen 1.

stewy2603 on July 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I stumbled across this when searching for the Harlow ODEON because my mum passed away last year, and she worked there many moons ago during my childhood. My dad worked for the ODEON offices in London. The pictures I’ve found on the internet touch me, and in fact bring me to tears as I have memories of watching Star Wars here in my childhood, and seeing mum. For one of the Star Wars films, possibly The Empire Strikes Back, apparently my mum lifted the ropes and waved our family to the front although there was a queue way way back. Faces were horrified. Anyhow, I have some black and white VIP pictures taken upstairs or on the landing with my mum, and another dear lady with said Celebrities including 2 characters from “The Black Hole”. I will find a way of posting them.

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