Building record MYO1836 - Odeon Cinema


Cinema and shops attached. Build in 1937, converted to triple screen cinema 1972. It closed in 2006 and was subsquently refurbished and opened in 2007 by Reel Cinema, with further work in 2010 before closing in 2017. It was reopened in 2017 by Everyman Cinema chain.


Grid reference Centred SE 5960 5135 (48m by 52m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Cinema and shops attached. 1937, converted to triple screen cinema 1972. By Harry Weedon. Buff brick in Flemish garden-wall bond with bands and splayed vertical ribs of shaped brick.

STYLE: Art Deco.

EXTERIOR: 1-storey front range with 3-storey block behind and tall projecting tower block at left; at each end are 2-storey wings, right one projecting forward of main block; cantilevered canopy extends width of front range from wing at right. Ground floor of all parts rusticated with horizontal brick bands; first floor of wings set back slightly over chamfered moulded brick band; wings and tower block banded horizontally at parapet level, and tower has plain parapet. Flat roof. Five pairs of glazed doors between round-ended piers set back beneath canopy. Main block behind has three vertical strips of 1-pane windows set in stepped brick panel.

Tower has one set of double doors deeply recessed in plain opening: upper storeys relieved by parapet-height recessed panel divided by full-height vertical ribs. Shopfronts in the wings are framed in timber, and have recessed glazed doors with overlights and plate glass windows with transoms and integral blind boxes. On first floors, windows are grouped and banded between sill bands and soldier brick arches. Windows in rounded ends of both wings are curved on plan. All upper floor windows are metal-framed casements or pivoting lights. Left and right returns are articulated in full-height pilaster strips and have scattered fenestration.

INTERIOR: not inspected. Noted to retain many original 'Art Deco' features, though many now hidden since conversion.

Listing NGR: SE5975551429

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

NMR Information
The establishment of an Odeon cinema in the historic town of York was made difficult with the Town Council stating that any application for a cinema on a site within the city walls would be rejected. Although a suitable site was eventually found outside the city wall the council was adamant that the design should reflect York's historic character by maintaining that they were only prepared to consider an application for a building which did not look like an Odeon. Designed by Harry Weedon in 1937 with Robert Bullivant as his assistant, the Odeon, externally, resembled that at Chester by being entirely in brick with the name sign in the more refined Trajan style of lettering. The brick was laid in Flemish bond with bands and splayed vertical ribs of splayed brick. In 1972 the cinema was tripled.

1 Odeon 1985 edited by Rosemary Clegg 164
2 Odeon Cinemas 1: Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation 2002 Allen Eyles pp. 114, 244
3 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest Vol. 1112-1 York, 14-MAR-1997

BF053142 Odeon Cinema, Blossom Street, York
BF114121 Photographs of measured drawings of cinemas from The Rank Organisation Offices, Whyteleafe

Architect HARRY WEEDON 1937 Cinema architect.

Internet information

The City Council insisted that it was to be located outside the historic city walls and that it did not look like an Odeon with typical faiance tiling. Accordingly Robert Bullivant, of the Harry Weedon architectural practice, came up with a more refined brick scheme – which still managed to look like an Odeon. It opened on 1st February 1937 with Roland Young in “The Man Who Could Work Miracles”.

Seating 1,484 in stalls and balcony levels it proved successful and in 1972 was tripled. This was not a standard scheme as at York the circle was extended forward to form a stadium style 820 seater – very attractively (original decor was retained). There were then two 111 seat minis under the former balcony. In 1981, the Odeon was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage.

Recent troubles began when Odeon Theatres wanted to re-brand the cinema with new signage, removing the original ‘ODEON’ signs from the Grade II Listed building. But the local Council insisted that everything should remain intact. This led to threats by Odeon Theatres to close down, despite good attendances. The reality of closure came on 31st August 2006.

In June 2007, the building was purchased by Reel Cinemas, who refurbished the cinema, restoring many original features. The cinema re-opened as the Reel Cinema on 19th June 2009, with a black tie gala and the appropriately named film “Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen” showing on the main 880 seat screen upstairs.

In early-2010, a 40-seat screen 4 was opened in former unused office space, and later in 2010, a 35-seat screen 5 opened in former retail space. On 31st August 2017 it was closed for refurbishment and has been taken over by Everyman Media Group. It re-opened on 30th December 2017 with a reduced capacity and with 4 screens

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 20 2020 5:13PM


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