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Odeon/New Victoria

2195

Originally built as a 3,318 seat cine-variety theatre (the largest outside London when built, and the third largest in England), the Odeon/New Victoria occupies most of a large island site. The vast seating capacity was split between stalls, mezzanine circle and balcony. There were twelve dressing rooms, a fully-equipped fly tower and an orchestra pit. Also contained in the building was a ballroom and a restaurant. The spectacular auditorium was dominated by a huge dome and coved rectangular proscenium. A frieze ran around the auditorium below the ceiling and either side of the stage were arches, niches and decorative grilles divided by pilasters. Further arches and panels were to the rear of the auditorium, the balcony fronts featuring putti holding festoons. At the end of 1968 the theatre closed for subdivision into separate cinema screens and bingo. Two large cinemas were created in the circles whilst bingo took over in the stalls. The conversion work effectively obscured (rather than destroyed) most of the decoration in the theatre, and the stage remained intact in the bingo hall. Later a third screen opened in the ballroom. Before subdivision, the stage was regularly used for live shows, popular concerts and broadcasts. The Odeon closed in July 2000. The then Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, purchased the Odeon for redevelopment of the site in May 2003, and in the same year, Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) was formed. Langtree Artisan submitted a planning application for demolition and redevelopment in September 2008 and a scheme was approved in 2009. However, the dismantling of Yorkshire Forward in 2010 meant that ownership of the building transferred to the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) in August 2011. By September 2012 the HCA announced the termination of the developer agreement and on 14 November 2013 the transfer of the Odeon to Local Authority ownership was completed. The council has had bids from interested parties who wish to secure the future of the building and by August 2014 only one bidder was remaining – Bradford Live – which wishes to transform the Odeon into a live performance/music venue. The interior may yet be restorable but, as important, the Odeon contributes materially to the Bradford townscape, makes a good neighbour for the Alhambra and could form part of a cultural quarter for Bradford. Over £1.3m of remedial work was completed in May 2015 to make the building safe and ready for future redevelopment.

Built / Converted
1930
Dates of use
  • 1930 - 2000: Cine-variety; Cinema
Current state
Extant
Current use
Disused (currently at risk)
Address
Princes Way, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 2BS, England
Further details
Other names
New Victoria Theatre , Gaumont , Odeon Film Centre
Events
  • 1930 Design/Construction:
    William Illingworth
    - Architect
  • 1930 - 2000 Use: Cine-variety; Cinema
  • 1969 Design/Construction:
    Trevor & Mavis Stone
    - Consultant
    interior decorations
  • 1969 Alteration: Subdivided into bingo and two smaller cinemas
    Gavin Peterson & Sons
    - Architect
  • 2003 Owner/Management: Yorkshire Forward
  • 2011 Owner/Management: Homes and Communities Agency
  • 2013 Owner/Management: Bradford Council
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    3318
Listings
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Proscenium flat
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -