Paramount Cinema(Odeon),Newcastle upon Tyne.

Paramount Cinema Newcastle upon Tyne

Paramount Cinema (Odeon),

Pilgrim Street,

Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QE

 

 

Owners: Paramount Theatres (Newcastle upon Tyne) Ltd.

Architect: Frank Thomas Verity,F.R.I.B.A. & Samuel Beverley, F.R.I.B.A.

Building cost:  approximately £250.000.

Seating Capacity: 2604.

Wurlitzer 4Manual/20Ranks organ installed. Opened by Vincent Trippelt.

Date opened: Monday 7th September 1931.

Date Closed: 26th of November 2002.

Organ installed:  Wurlitzer three manual, nineteen ranks theatre organ, which was removed in 1964.

First film shown: ‘Monte Carlo’.

Last film shown: ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets’

 

 

The Paramount Film Company of America had intended to build some fifty cinemas in the UK. For a variety of reasons this ambitious target fell well short.  The handful of Paramount Theatres that did materialise on the company’s wish list, Newcastle-upon-Tyne was included.

Building work gets under way of the Paramount Theatre

The cost to build this magnificent theatre was approximately £250,000, a tremendous sum back then.  The architect was Frank Thomas Verity, F.R.I.B.A., in association with his partner Samuel Beverley F.R.I.B.A.

Verity designed many cinemas, including the Paramount in Paris and the Paramount, later Odeon Manchester.

The plans submitted

The proscenium width was fifty- four foot wide and thirty foot deep.  Seating was for 2,604 – made up of: Stalls, 1,374; royal circle, grand circle and balcony, 1,230.

The proscenium and orchestra pit of the Paramount

A report in the BIOSCOPE dated 9th September 1931 says: As far as the seating is concerned, the finest details have been considered to ensure the perfect comfort of patrons.

The chairs have been specially designed following research work over three years. During that time hundreds of X ray photographs have been taken at the London hospitals to discover in which particular style of chair the maximum comfort can be obtained. Everything, even to the correct curvature of the spine has been carefully considered.

The auditorium was decorated in the style of the Baroque period and the colour scheme consisted of blue and deep rose tints, with touches of gold, silver and marble Dutch metalling, giving it pleasing colour harmony.

From the stage- The Paramount Newcastle.

It can safely be said that the interior decorations of this huge theatre are among the finest in Europe. All effects have been achieved by free painting on the walls, which has been carried out by specialist artists from London.

Wrought iron balustrade of the circle lounge at the Paramount. Workman adding the finishing touches.

All pure decoration as far back as the ancient Egyptian Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Grecian Empire, and the Roman Empire originally took this form.

Entrance lobby of the Paramount

The building was constructed throughout of steel and concrete and almost fire proof. The operating room had been constructed on the roof of the building and was adjoined to the rewinding rooms, rectifying room and generating room. The situation of the operating chamber and the provision of fire shutters rendered it impossible at any time for fire to get into the auditorium itself.

Projection room at the Paramount Newcastle upon Tyne

The whole of the projecting room is surrounded by fourteen inch walls with portholes of fire-resisting glass. If an explosion had occurred the roof would have blown off before the fire reached the auditorium. Western Electric sound apparatus has been installed.

It was officially opened on Monday 7th September 1931 with the film ‘Monte Carlo’ starring Jeanette MacDonald and Jack Buchanan.  A Wurlitzer 4Manual/20Ranks organ was installed with the organ chambers set left and right of the stage. On the opening night it was played by Vincent Trippelt.

There was also a stage presentation by Francis A. Mangan titled “The Ladder of Roses” featuring numerous artists and featuring 24 “Tillerettes”. The Paramount Orchestra, under the baton of Anton, formerly of the Opera House, Milan, provided the musical accompaniment.

The Foyer of the Paramount Theatre

In November 1939 a number of Paramount cinemas were taken over by Odeon. The Newcastle theatre was re-named on 22nd April 1940.

The corridor at the rear of the stalls of the Paramount

Many famous stars trod the theatre’s boards, including Billy Cotton, Joe Loss and George Formby. In 1954 Cinemascope was installed, and in the ’70s a number of pop stars belted out their songs. These included the Who and Rod Stewart. In 1975 like many others, the cinema was tripled, with 1,228 seats in screen one, which was in the circle area, and had been extended. The stalls area accommodated screens, two and three. There were 158 in screen two, and 250 in three. In 1980, a fourth screen was added, which had room for 361.

The building was a grade two listed building by 1999, and English Heritage said it was the best surviving Paramount cinema in Britain, with a well composed facade and rich interior with Lalique glass fittings. In 2001 Odeon built a new multiplex in the city and successfully applied to have the cinema de-listed to maximise the site value. The mighty Paramount/Odeon closed in 2002 and remained empty.

Disaster! As the massive facade topples into the street during the demolition of the Odeon (Paramount) cinema in Newcastle.

Demolition began in December 2016. The front of the building collapsed into the Street. Luckily no one was hurt. Another fine cinema gone, now only to be seen in photographs.

David A Ellis ©chestercinemas.co.uk 

 

THE FABULOUS UK PARAMOUNTS

click on other Paramount theatres listed below for their histories & photographs~

Paramount, Manchester.

Paramount, Leeds.

Paramount, Liverpool.

Paramount, Glasgow.

Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, London.

Paramount, Birmingham.

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