Odeon Cinema~ (original), Warrington.

Odeon (original)Warrington

41-43 Buttermarket Street,

Warrington, W1A 2LY


Owners :  Odeon Theatres (Warrington) Ltd, Oscar Deutsch.

Architects:  Belshaw and Gomersall.

Building Contractor:  Percy Hamer Ltd, of Swinton, Manchester.

First General Manager:  Harold Parkin.

Date opened: Monday 11th January 1937.

Opened by:  Sir W. Peter Rylands & Warrington’s Mayor, Councillor J. Turner Cooper.

Seating Capacity: 1059 in the stalls, 576 in the balcony. Total: 1635.

First film shown:  “East Meets West” starring George Arliss and Lucie Mannheim.

Date Closed: 28th August 1994.



The first cinema to be built in Warrington for several years was the Odeon on Buttermarket Street, which opened at the beginning of 1937 as what was to be known as the peak year of cinema building for the Oscar Deutsch cinema empire.

The new Odeon Warrington taking shape.

With the Odeon sign in place and billboard announcing the opening.

This building seemed to stray away from the Art Deco streamline Odeon house style. There was no trace of the trademark cream faience tiles on the brick built façade. At street level the walls were clad with buff coloured stonework. A deep stonework border topped the frontage. A modest canopy covered the three sets of entrance doors. Windows were set in apertures of complementing stone finish. Designed by the architects firm of Belshaw and Joseph Gomersall.  Belshaw was in partnership with Joseph Gomersall  from 1934 to 1937 after which the practice style reverted to Drury and Gomersall. 

The building was constructed by Percy Hamer Ltd, of Swinton, Manchester who was also the building contractor for Chester’s Odeon that was completed three months before. Both cinemas were under construction at the same time.

The foyers were high with deep beams across the ceilings forming bays that were each edged with ornate plaster borders. Light fittings featured centrally in some of these bays.  

The auditorium seated 1059 in the stalls with a further 576 in the balcony. A striking feature was the highly polished veneered high dado panelling that surrounded the walls in both the stalls and circle. This gave relief to the plain walls. Contrasting the splay walls and the proscenium were richly decorated. A deeply recessed oval illuminated ceiling cove feature spanned the width of the proscenium which was framed with an ornate plaster work border that encased repeated vertical and horizontal bands directing eyes towards the wide stage. Raised rectangular grill work was set at the lower level on both splay walls that also featured a series of ornate plasterwork horizontal oblong frames that extended upwards from circle level to the ceiling.

The newly appointed General Manager, Harold Parkin, invited Sir W. Peter Rylands and Warrington’s Mayor, Councillor J. Turner Cooper, to officially open the building at a Grand Gala evening on Monday 11th January 1937.

A frame of film from the opening titles of East meets West.

The band of the 15th/19th King’s Royal Hussars provided a musical interlude before the first film to be screened, “East Meets West” starring George Arliss and Lucie Mannheim, was shown to a capacity audience.

Pictured in 1949.

c. 1949.

During 1968 a major fire started at the stage end of the cinema which was caused by an electrical fault on the main ventilation fans. Damage was severe forcing closure for several months. The ornate proscenium and splay wall features were now totally lost and replaced with plain finish. The building re-opened in May 1968.

The projection team. Left to right: John Forster, Peter Sutch, Fred Laird(chief projectionist), James Ashworth and Mike Wilbourne.

In line with many cinemas of its size the Odeon was turned into a three screen venue. The largest screen was formed in the original auditorium. It held 576 seats, while two small mine screens were formed in the stalls area under the circle. Screen 2 seated 291 customers with a further 196 accommodated in Screen 3.  The three screen Odeon opened on 14th September 1980 with “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Damien I & II” and “The Final Countdown”.

Photographed on it’s closing week.

Demolishion nearing completion.

Closed on 28th August 1994, the Odeon was demolished and a Yates Wine Lodge was built on the site.