Made in Bradford – Bradford Odeon: Last of the Super Cinemas


[Projector Whirring]>>Andrew: Well it’s an Italian Renaissance
design Which was designed in the 1920s, late 20s,
by an architect called William Illingworth Who lived in Bradford and was quite a prominent
architect of his time When you look around the city, there are quite
a few of his buildings still in existence Round and about And what you see is probably his most prominent
and successful of all of them He was a cinema designer, there is more than
just this in the country And there are others, There is another one
up in Hartlepool that I do know of Which is still in existence today The main auditorium, which was used for shows
as well as movies eventually The ballroom was a separate entity off to
one side Which then became Odeon 3 as I affectionately
know it From my time going to the cinema It also had a bingo hall as well inside The Rank Bingo, as they used to call it It gradually morphed into something more than
just the stage It was gradually broken down into segments And each became its own purpose And then eventually you had the three cinemas Odeon 1, 2, and 3 A few years ago I managed to get some photographs
of the Odeon Which were donated to me by a friend And they literally are photographs that were
sent to William Illingworth At the time the Odeon was being built So there is quite a few, probably about ten
or twenty photographs Which show it in various forms of being constructed Now these photographs some of them are quite
rare Some of them people have seen before They belonged I believe to the assistant architect of William Illingworth, which was Cecil Barber And Cecil Barber was an interested man in
his own right Because he was an apprentice to William Blakewell Who was the designer of Leeds City Square So he actually came to work for William Illingworth And was probably part of this scheme also The photographs vary from for example interior
shots Of the amazing amount of bricks stacked up So you’re actually inside the Odeon with outer
walls built Showing all the scaffolding and the gents
in flat caps Also there’s some detailed shots of the Italian
renaissance architecture At the tops of the towers So quite detailed, showing how intricate the
work was and how it was put together in sections We also have photographs again showing interiors Also at the time when they were decorating
the interiors Showing all the elaborate balconies And the decor which was absolutely fabulous Also with the photographs, were photographs
of the original drawings Showing the layout inside How the auditorium was set out Before it went through all its various changes It definitely had stalls and boxes at the
sides as well And you had a lounge, the stalls lounge Which is quite interesting, When I used to
go to the cinema In the seventies, that was where you got your
popcorn and things like that Where as when you see pictures of the original
stalls lounge It was quite posh Almost art-deco in style Seating areas, palm trees, that kind of arrangement A lot of the photographs, you get quite a
good view of the Alhambra And how the new Odeon, New Victoria should
I say Fits in with the rest of the arrangement Because a lot of people don’t realise is that
when the New Victoria was built It was on a street called Brewery Street And it’s on the site of an old brewery The New Victoria Square was opposite and this
was actually sandwiched In between the Odeon and New Victoria Square So to make it more visible the elaborate towers
were quite prominent At either end of the street The actual front was quite a plain design And that’s why people will often say well
why save it? It’s quite ugly at the front But it was made to stand out so you could
see it at the end of each street And see the towers of the New Victoria Thornton Road would still be of this sort
of width okay But as soon as you came out of that end tower
there You were walking across the street to another
block of buildings The New Victoria Square, with the New Inn,
there would be a pub there As well, and a few shops And what they were trying to do, Were trying to get you to see the theatre
was there From whether you were coming down Morley Street, Great Horton, Thorton Road, coming out the
Town Hall, You’d look up Tyrell Street and you’d be able
to see the two towers Where as you wouldn’t see the actual front
of the building So the design was to attract people in that
sense From people’s investigations into the building A lot of this stuff is still there, it’s just
hidden away It’s hidden behind panels It’s hidden behind 1960s, 70s, 80s decor which
has just built up over the years And as you peel that away, the balconies reappear All the ornate plasterwork and everything
is there It just needs exposing Now the photograph I’ve got in my hand here Is just showing you the sheer opulence of
the place How grand it must of been And again it signifies how important a night
out there would’ve been You would have felt quite royal going out
there I’ve got a ticket to go to the theatre tonight It does have a certain opulence This particular photograph shows the scaffolding
in 1929 Which is not too dissimilar to what the building
looks like today With the scaffolding in 2012 It just shows you how we’ve come full circle And hopefully this isn’t the scaffolding here To take it down, if you know what I mean So the picture shows scaffolding putting it
up Let’s hope that this scaffolding remains as
part Of a renovation, not as part and parcel Of removing the building. [Projector runs out of film]

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