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Closure date- Thursday 14th June 2007.
Building handed over to the landlords- Brook Leisure on Friday 29th June 2007.
After more than seventy one years of BIG screen entertainment Odeon prepares to leave the building during June 2007~
It is somewhat ironic that the doors closed for the last time on a miserable windswept and rainy evening. It had been decided that there would be no special performance or film to mark the final day. The attendance to witness the final movie was poor as the film had played for several weeks before. The building could no longer be officially referred to as ODEON. Chester people of course will keep on calling it the Odeon as it has too many memories for them, and links to the heart of the city. When visiting Chester, chances are you will overhear “meet you at the Odeon in ten minutes”. It is as much a landmark as the Town Hall itself!
The nearest Odeon (at the moment), is a state of the art eight screen multiplex in Wrexham. The company is still opening new cinemas at a steady rate, and remains the leading cinema circuit in the UK, Europe, and worldwide.
Ross Lewis, who worked at the Odeon Chester as duty manager at one point in his career recalls“ I have always been interested in the art deco design of the earlier cinemas, and although the Odeon had been sectioned off into five screens by the time I arrived, there was still plenty of the original features and fittings to see which to me gave the cinema a uniqueness that could not be matched in modern cinema builds. I thought that Odeon One was very impressive in design, and without doubt was my favorite screen. I liked that cinema very much, and enjoyed every minute I was there”.
Ross began employment with Odeon at another cinema. He was intrigued with the technical operation. As well as working in his downstairs position he would be found in the projection department learning the skill of film projection in his spare time. Eventually he trained in general management securing a position as duty manager. However, he decided to follow his technical interests and was appointed technician, quickly being promoted to a senior technician position.
In fact it is significant that it was Ross, and his projection colleague Phil Barrett, who returned to Chester Odeon as it closed. The technical manager had requested that they assist the company engineers in dismantling and removal of all the projection equipment over a two week period. The original Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 projectors which had been installed new in the 1960’s were shipped to Ireland. The rest of the equipment was put into company stores ready for re-use as required. Little was left in the projection rooms, other than some unwanted stands.