'I remember when they built the Odeon,
it must have been about 1938 or so. I thought it was the most amazing
building in the town with that tower. The brightly lit ODEON sign made
it look most impressive. We thought the town had got a cinema to rival
any other cinema in the country.'
'The best part of the Odeon was the entrance doors and the foyer. It
was really plush and with all those doors it looked especially nice. I
went to the cinema first in about 1939, just before the outbreak of the
war. We went quite often during the war and I reckon there was always a
large audience in the cinema. I thought to close the Odeon as well as
the Gaumont was criminal'
'My mom used to say that she went to the Odeon the night it opened
and she saw the man who owned all of the Odeons in the country that
night. It was always my mom's favourite picture house.'
'I went to the Odeon many times during the war
and every time I went it felt like I was going into somewhere extra
special. It was the surroundings which were really elaborate and big. It
was every bit as good as the Gaumont. In fact, I would say it was a lot
'If you wanted to see one of the big films of the moment you went to
either the Gaumont or the Odeon. They were the real cinemas in the town.
They showed all the best films, probably because they got the main films
from the best studios in Hollywood.'
'We went to the Odeon one Saturday to see War
and Peace. It was such a long film, I think we actually had to go in two
sittings, the first half one week, the second half the next week.'
'I've been to the Odeon as the bingo hall and, although I
love Bingo, it's been the same as when it was a cinema. To me, it was
the town's best cinema.'
'The Odeon showed some really good films and it
would be difficult to fault it, but in a few ways there were some major
problems. It was not really that comfortable upstairs and it was too
big, so children got scared, or at least my children did when they were
'I saw some super films at the Queen's like the Errol Flynn 'Robin
Hood' film and South Pacific. If you asked me which of the picture
houses I liked best, I would definitely say the Odeon. It was friendly,
even though it was big, and it had good films on.'
'I used to go to the Saturday club at the cinema. It was great fun
and you always got a really good show there. People used to join in and
have fun. It was going to the club which made me start attending the
Odeon regularly, once I had started work.'
'If the Odeon was open now as a cinema, I still think it would
have succeeded. It did try to double or treble the cinema. It started
showing some of the old, but successful films in an attempt to keep its
audience but, as we know, it was doomed to failure and closure.'
'I don't think I can remember any real attempt to try
and increase its audience after the war. I think it was believed that
the cinema would stay open, no matter what. As it proved the optimism
was a failure, and the cinema had to close.'
'When the Odeon opened, several of my friends predicted that it could
never stay open unless there was a lot of money put into it.'
'The Odeon was the picture house where we did most of our courting,
my hubby and I. It was comfortable, with spacious seats and quite wide
aisles. I saw many of the most outstanding films of the forties and
fifties at the Odeon.'
'There was never anything very fancy there but
it always seemed quite a different environment from the other main
cinemas in the area. I believe it was the product of having a good staff
and a good arrangement with the main film chains so that the Odeon got
all of, or most of, the films which were newest.'
'If I had to name my own number one cinema, it was the Odeon. I even
liked it, after they had put the triple screens in to the cinema. I went
to one film at the time of the triple screens and I was really
disappointed because there were so few people in the audience, not that
it could have housed many more.'
'The Odeon sort of reminded
me of the Queen's. I have no reason to explain that but that's how it
was for me at the time. Maybe it was the general decor of the place or
the number of good films I saw at the cinema. If someone said 'what is
your favourite pictures?' I would answer the question really quickly and
say the Odeon, but have absolutely no reason for the choice.'
'The Odeon had quite a large
staircase I think, or did you go up the stairs at the side of the main
foyer? You know, I can't really remember.'
'The upstairs at the Odeon was pretty big, I know it was where
I took my wife the first time we went out together. That was in 1947. I
can't remember the film.'
'The Odeon was where my friends and our girls went
most, out of all the cinemas in the town. It was very large inside with
quite smart upholstery and plaster work. I've been many times to the
building to play Bingo and in a lot of ways it's still the same. Many of
the people who go to the Bingo remember it as the picture house and they
often sit around and talk about the old films and the film stars they
saw way back.'
'If they had to keep the building up it's a
pity they could only keep it for Bingo. Too many of those beautiful
cinema buildings finished up as bingo halls.'
'The first real memory I have of the Savoy was going through the main
doors and being faced by a really impressive staircase. It went to the
left and to the right and there was a balcony at the top before you went
into the upstairs foyer.'
'Never went downstairs at the Savoy. It was the
picture house where you always went upstairs. I suppose it's ridiculous
but I never considered the downstairs stalls.'
'It was the first cinema I ever went into. It was during the war and
I went with my mom and brother. The strange thing is I can't remember
the film, although I have a vague recollection of a western with Errol
Flynn in it.'
'I saw most of my films at the Savoy. It was
quite a posh building in many ways. It had a super staircase and I think
the auditorium was quite plush. I only ever went upstairs at the Savoy
which is very strange since it was dearer than other parts of the
cinema. It was the last picture house I ever went to as well. That means
I haven't been to the pictures for years. I do remember the last film I
saw at the Savoy, it was White Nights with the Russian dancer Mikhail
Barashnikov in it. I suppose it was called something else by then'
'You would queue outside the Savoy for ages. The queue always went
round the front of the building and along the side towards Old Hall
Street. If it was raining you'd get really soaked.'
'The Savoy had some of the best films on in town. You always
knew the film was good because there was so often a queue down the side
of the building. It was also one of the few cinemas which I always
remember had stills from this week's film and next week's film. I
suppose they all had them but I really remember them outside the Savoy.
They were always on the wall on the corner of Old Hall Street.'
'My friends and I used
to go to the Savoy quite often. It was a really nice building and very
comfortable inside. It was at the Savoy that I actually met my wife. We
went on a blind date arranged by my mate Dave and his girlfriend who
worked with Sarah, my wife. It's funny really because Dave and the girl
split up soon after that date while Sarah and I stayed together. That's
about thirty two years ago. We went to the Savoy very often after that
date and saw some of the best films of the time there.'
'I remember seeing my very favourite film at the Savoy,
although it was probably the ABC by then. The film was Zulu with Michael
Caine and Stanley Baker. I saw it twice while it was at the ABC.'
'When I was a kid in the sixties, I went to the ABC Minors Club at
the cinema. It was great, you had films, fancy dress, competitions,
cartoons and a serial, all for about 2/6d.'
'I went to the ABC quite often on Sundays to see X films. They used
to be on for one day because they would never have got an audience for
those films if they showed them all week. That was probably why some of
the other smaller flicks closed.'
'It was strange that the Savoy was built where it was really because
in those days there was the Clifton across the road and the Gaumont just
round the comer on Snow Hill. Mind you I suppose that shows just how
popular the cinema was in the thirties. It's also interesting that the
Savoy stayed up after the others and is now being renovated and
refurbished in such a big way.'
'The Savoy was one cinema which I always
enjoyed going to, probably because it had so many good films on. It was
the first cinema I went to as a teenager which in fact was the first
time I actually went to a cinema at all. My mom and dad would not allow
me to go to the pictures when I was a little girl, they didn't agree
with cinemas. That's maybe why I went so often as a teenager and in my
'The Savoy always seemed bigger from the outside than it was inside.
I know that sounds a bit daft but it was such a big building. In fact,
the other day I was passing the building site at the old Savoy building
and I thought I was right, it was very big.'
'It's funny but I can never think of the Savoy as anything else than
the Savoy, not as the ABC and I didn't even know it was once called the
'The Savoy, or the ABC as it was
called then, was the first cinema I went to when they started to double
and treble the screens. It was really good to be able to choose between
a few pictures rather than just the one. Nowadays of course, you can
choose between about twelve with those multi-screen cinemas. I think it
was a real pity when they decided to close the Savoy, oh sorry the ABC.
No, it was called the Cannon wasn't it when it closed?'
'The Cannon was the last
name they gave to the Savoy or the ABC and to be honest it was a pretty
silly name to give it. I don't think anyone in the town ever thought of
the cinema as the Cannon.'