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The ODEON, Pilgrim Street.


There have been many cinemas in Central Newcastle, in the past, but sadly there are not so many in the City Centre today.

Few cimemas, though, have evoked more affection or comment than the beautiful Odeon (formerly a ‘Paramount’) on Pilgrim Street, right in the centre of the City. One of the reasons for this, is included within that first paragraph . . . it was indeed a very BEAUTIFUL cinema, particularly internally.

In consequence, there have been a lot of posts and contributions about the Odeon, on our forum.

They have occurred across a number of threads, but principally (and correctly) within the EPS (East Pilgrim Street) Developments Thread. There are also a fair few on the Historic Newcastle thread. The main thread (the EPS thread) covers the whole of the East Pilgrim Street area and will hopefully (one day!) develop into the EPS “Project Thread”, if and when the whole thing gets started.

The ‘Odeon Debate’ has got a little bit lost in there, of late, and certainly it will do when the building works of EPS start. So, for that reason (and to make it easier to identify this specific issue for future ‘researchers’ using our forum) I feel that the Odeon really deserves its own thread, where we can record its past and follow its (indeterminate) future, to our hearts content.

This thread is therefore (initially) made up of pre-existing posts about the Odeon, copied into it, from across the forum . . .

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Does anyone know what the status of the old Paramount Theatre on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle is? This is the old Odeon cinema, which given the plaudit of being the most complete surviving Paramount in the country (probably one of the only surviving American style movie palaces in the country). It was controversially de-listed in 1999 at the request of Odeon cinemas (so as to make the site more attractive to potential purchasers).
Things seem to have gone quiet for the past couple of years. I believe Multiplex own it now?

There is a link to a website here:
http://www.newcastleparamount.org.uk/

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should find out soon enough, but it is not looking too good.


Business News


Firm set to unveil city masterplan

May 17 2007

By Nigel Stirling, The Journal


Plans for a massive redevelopment of Newcastle city centre's Pilgrim Street will be unveiled to the public in November.

Australian development and construction company Multiplex said yesterday it had secured the entire block bordered by Pilgrim Street, Market Street, John Dobson Street and New Bridge Street West after buying Commercial Union House, which was built in the 1960s.

The company, which is developing the 10-acre block running from the southern end of Northumberland Street to Swan House roundabout with billionaire brothers Simon and David Reuben's Aldersgate, expects to lodge a planning application next year.

Jayne McGivern, chief executive of Multiplex Developments UK, said: We are working very closely with the council. "We are currently refining our masterplan so to ensure that it is properly integrated with all of the mixed-uses within the scheme.

"As far as timing is concerned, we expect to make public our masterplan, in some detail, in November this year. It will cover the same area, and on current programme, we should be lodging a planning application in January or February next year."

Multiplex, which bought the scheme from London-based property company Chelsfield in late 2004, has been working up plans with Newcastle planners since October 2005, and said last July that it intended to lodge plans "some time in 2007".

It bought the fire station on Pilgrim Street in November 2005 from a hotel developer but has made little other visible progress on the one million sq ft site since, raising concerns that plans could become mired in a stand-off with landowners.

Ms McGivern said: "We have probably got three or four, fairly small, pieces of the jigsaw that we would like to put in place. We are in discussion with all of the other landowners and have no reason to believe that we will not conclude those discussions before the masterplan is revealed in November."

The scheme, that will stretch to John Dobson and Carliol streets and Carliol Square, and has been seen as an extension for Newcastle's main shopping parade on Northumberland Street, will include apartments, offices and a hotel.

Ms McGivern said: "There is no doubt that it is retail-led. But I would imagine that in terms of percentages the other [non retail] uses will come to 30% [of the site]. It really is a regeneration mixed-use development which is what we are really good at."

The company was yet to decide on a use for the former Odeon - at the northern end of Pilgrim Street and described as one of the best surviving examples of an American-style super cinema in Europe.

She said: "It is not listed at this moment in time and my understanding is it is not going to be. However, we will work with the council to make it part of our scheme either way. We are not being dogmatic about it either way."

Asked if the developer's preference was to retain the building in its current state, or knock it down completely, Ms McGivern said: "We are completely open minded. We are looking at both options."
 

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Either they are being disingenuous about their plans for the site, or they don't know (in which case why are they running a large project development company?).

I think that this touches on the issue that for far too long the city centre has been far too constrained resulting in a desire to build in inappropriate areas. I am not against the Multiplex development per se, I just don't want the Paramount demolished!

To illuminate my remarks about the city centre being constrained I would point to the Central Motorway, which has largely cut off the east of the city from the centre (which would be prime development land linking the centre with the quayside and the Ouseburn); the RVI (in my view this should have been moved to the suburbs some years ago, the amount of traffic it adds to the centre is incredible); more recently the relentless growth of the universities, which again in my view should not have been allowed to develop on potential business sites. Finally, the Town Moor--why should this be a sacred cow? How many people actually use it, and would some of the land be better utilised by building on?

Anyway, I digress. Apologies!
 

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agree Man G! (even if it is going off-topic, maybe you should paste the more general comments into the newcastle thread in the projects section and others can discuss it).

the Multiplex development angers me, first chelsfield then the aussies have left this site derelict for almost 11 years now. years ago some campaigners squatted in the old buildings on the site and maintained community facilities, art gallery, cafe and nightclub for a month or two, before being moved on. it is safe to say the buildings would be in a better state had the squatters remained on site, instead the developers have allowed buildings to rot, at least in a comestic sense, probably in order to make it more palatable when they come to mass demolitions. all of the old buildings on site contribute a lot to the streetscape, especially being directly opposite Grainger Town, and should be retained but i fear multiplex will go with the wrecking ball.
 

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I've heard in the past that Cinema sites are particularly problematic to renovate. It's one thing to just redevelop it as a cinema, but there's no demand for another one, and certainly not an old one designed for what people needed decades ago. Remember the Odeon 1 Screen? The room was amazing, and very impressive, but not at all ideal for watching a film. For starters there just wasn't enough leg room. I remember once, when I was wedged in, against the wall, I got cramp in my leg, and just had to bite my tongue and hold my breath as there was no way of moving my leg at all! Other than a cinema, they're not ideal to be turned into anything else. Essentially you have to remove everything inside and start from scratch, essentially just leaving a facade, and it's just far cheaper to demolish the facade too and start completely from fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
sad to say but I agree, I think it will eventaully get demolished, tbh its in such a terrible state of repair now it may be for the best. Gutted though as have some great memories of visiting that cinema, and also the Bimbi's restaurant below!Something along the design of the city library would look great there, with a huge wall of glass where the facade is now!
Yes, the Bimbi's Restaurant in the basement, I remember that (had forgotten all about it!) we used to go there quite a bit actually!

Before that it was a bit more up-market, and was called the Northumbrian Restaurant, and was (I think) officially part of the Odeon Cinema at that time.
 

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Yes, the Bimbi's Restaurant in the basement, I remember that (had forgotten all about it!) we used to go there quite a bit actually!

Before that it was a bit more up-market, and was called the Northumbrian Restaurant, and was (I think) officially part of the Odeon Cinema at that time.
:) H ha yes! Very fond memories of going to Bimbis with my family then heading off into the Odeon. The Odeon itself was beautiful 'proper' cinema! I personally hate the Empire cinema and Odeon at Silverlink. Going to the old Odeon felt like a proper event!Maybe thats just me being sentimental though!:lol:
 

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I cannot believe that Empire building was knocked down on Newgate street. Imagine how great it would look today instead of the desolate 60's nonesense we have to currently endure.
But what would it be used for? How many derelict theatres/cinemas does a city need? At the moment there's only the Paramount/Odeon, Pilgrim Street and no-one can think of what to do with that.

I rather like the Newgate Centre, though part of the reason - it's nice and peaceful - may underlie its commercial demise. Anyway, I also like its rational modernistic lines, though it's a shame it was roofed over in the 90s.

I also fear for the future of the independent businesses there. I doubt there will be such variety in whatever replacement is built.
 

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But what would it be used for? How many derelict theatres/cinemas does a city need? At the moment there's only the Paramount/Odeon, Pilgrim Street and no-one can think of what to do with that.

I rather like the Newgate Centre, though part of the reason - it's nice and peaceful - may underlie its commercial demise. Anyway, I also like its rational modernistic lines, though it's a shame it was roofed over in the 90s.

I also fear for the future of the independent businesses there. I doubt there will be such variety in whatever replacement is built.
ooh .. did someone mention Paramount/Odeon .. ahh ... the glory days !!

.. 1930's

.. 1990's
 

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ooh .. did someone mention Paramount/Odeon .. ahh ... the glory days !!
Ah yes, my favourite, along with The Queens Hall, ABC Haymarket, and The Pavilion of Newcastle's big auditorium cinemas. Even though it was still open and successful in your 1990s photo (above) before it moved to the Gate (and 'spookily' . . became The Empire . . .) didn't the front of the building (the self-same building) look so much better in its 1930's guise than in its 1990's one?

Still (in the 90s) a part-lovely cinema internally, even though converted to screens 1, 2, 3 and 4!
 

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Article in today's Chronicle with regards to some East Pilgrim Street news...

IT is a fascinating window to the past which could play a key role in shaping the future.

Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd has swooped to buy the Northern Constitutional Club, which has been based on the city’s Pilgrim Street since the 1830s.

It currently occupies a spot on the top floor of the former Odeon cinema building, with stunning views across Tyneside.

Shepherd has paid a seven-figure sum to buy out all remaining shareholders of the society, which was previously known as the Northern Conservative Club and is the oldest political club in the city.

Inside the 9,000 sq ft site are a host of treasures including a bronze bust of former Tory PM Benjamin Disraeli and a memorial plaque to those who lost their lives at war.

As well as containing a range of artefacts, the club is also located in the centre of a plot earmarked for large-scale regeneration.

There are plans to revamp the East Pilgrim Street area, which covers 40 acres between Saville Row, off Northumberland Street, the Central Motorway and Swan House roundabout.

It was hoped the scheme would see a major retailer like Harvey Nichols attracted to the area, with around 3,000 jobs created in the process.

But progress has stalled during the credit crunch and instead of empty buildings being pulled down, space inside them is being rented out on a short-term basis.

Now, Shepherd, through firm Shepherd Offshore Developments, plan to hold discussions with developers in the hope they can re-invigorate the regeneration plans.

He said: “As Geordies, it was important to us that all these fabulous items contained in the club were kept in the region.

“We plan to move them to another historic site, La Sagesse, so they remain in the region for the benefit of future generations.

“We also hope to sit down with the owners of the building to see if we can jointly find a way forward for the whole area that will benefit everyone.”

The Constitutional Club is described as Tyneside’s “best kept secret.” With its own private lift, the club has a large main room with dancefloor, a bar and a series of lounges, complete with full-size snooker tables. There is also a large working kitchen.

Southwards it looks over the Tyne Bridge, while the view North is of Northumberland Street, while West, Grey’s Monument is seen.

The purchase of the club comes after Shepherd splashed out to buy former girls school La Sagesse in Jesmond, which closed in August last year.

It was placed on the market and Shepherd splashed out more than £5m to acquire the 26,000sq metre plot in February.

The plot, bought by Mr Shepherd through family firm Shepherd Offshore, includes the main school building, a chapel, a gym dating from the 1970s and the former convent.

The owners of the building that houses the Constitutional Club are Brookfield and Aldersgate, who voiced frustration at red tape slowing down their plans to regenerate the area earlier this year.

And in recent months, hopes of a speedy start of the revamp scheme faded after the decision was taken to rent out office space in the East Pilgrim Street area in the short-term.
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-evening-chronicle/2009/11/09/freddy-shepherd-snaps-up-newcastle-club-72703-25124620/
 

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Anger, here is what was showing at those two Gosforth Cinemas on October 29th 1960, from the Evening Chronicle of the same day.

Newcastle Historian, please keep the classified columns for the cinema adverts coming as often as you can. If through yourself and other regulars on the North-East/Newcastle section, please can I keep you all up to date with many of the cinema theatre and local history websites nationally and worldwide that I am a contributor to?

I'm sorry I don't have,as i sometimes do, photographs of the Newcastle area cinemas you have advertised there on the very day of the newspaper printing, but owing to my membership of CinemaTreasures.org can I point you a bit further whereby only a few years later or earlier, you could do?

You might want to catch up on a lost link of Cinema Treasures, only recently revived. If you are keen on catching up with the Odeon, Byker from the 60's and 70's for example you are well recommended to follow this link here:-

www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/byker.jpg

Thereby you can index into a wealth of cinemas sadly long gone in the North-East and through the UK. Please be mindful to observe the site owner's request and refer to the source if you like myself are widening the circle of the websites viewers.

Some of my colleagues on CinemaTreasures have their own websites too, not easily known unless one spends some time on there. Maybe I can invite your friends on Newcastle SSC to do so, or otherwise I can provide some more links?

Also do Newcastle Libraries have an on-line index of their stock? And what sort of geogrpahical areas does it cover? It will help me to direct interested cinema-history readers in the direction of what are usually reference-only materials and without prior permission would prefer to observe the specialised copyright rules.

I have literally thousands of files in my own cinema collection of adverts going back to the 1960's some of which block-advert wise in much larger size cinemas throughout the North of England which are no longer with us. I just need a drastic overhaul to my home computer in order to scan them in if anyone would like to see.

Regards,
Richie.
 

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Newcastle Historian, please keep the classified columns for the cinema adverts coming as often as you can. If through yourself and other regulars on the North-East/Newcastle section, please can I keep you all up to date with many of the cinema theatre and local history websites nationally and worldwide that I am a contributor to?

I'm sorry I don't have,as i sometimes do, photographs of the Newcastle area cinemas you have advertised there on the very day of the newspaper printing, but owing to my membership of CinemaTreasures.org can I point you a bit further whereby only a few years later or earlier, you could do?

You might want to catch up on a lost link of Cinema Treasures, only recently revived. If you are keen on catching up with the Odeon, Byker from the 60's and 70's for example you are well recommended to follow this link here:-

www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/byker.jpg

Thereby you can index into a wealth of cinemas sadly long gone in the North-East and through the UK. Please be mindful to observe the site owner's request and refer to the source if you like myself are widening the circle of the websites viewers.

Some of my colleagues on CinemaTreasures have their own websites too, not easily known unless one spends some time on there. Maybe I can invite your friends on Newcastle SSC to do so, or otherwise I can provide some more links?

Also do Newcastle Libraries have an on-line index of their stock? And what sort of geogrpahical areas does it cover? It will help me to direct interested cinema-history readers in the direction of what are usually reference-only materials and without prior permission would prefer to observe the specialised copyright rules.

I have literally thousands of files in my own cinema collection of adverts going back to the 1960's some of which block-advert wise in much larger size cinemas throughout the North of England which are no longer with us. I just need a drastic overhaul to my home computer in order to scan them in if anyone would like to see.

Regards,
Richie.
Some good Newcastle Cinema Photos HERE . . .

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=cinemas&[email protected]#page=0

Also, the book "Cinemas of Newcastle" (by Frank Manders, published by Newcastle City Lbraries in 1991, ISBN 0 902653 90 3) is a very good book.

When I was a child (teenager) I used to collect in a scrapbook (stuck in with paste) the large 'big film adverts' that you got in newspapers, as well as one copy of each weeks LISTINGS (like the ones here at Posts 158 and 289). Sadly, my Dad threw them out when we moved house once!

I have not used Newcastle City Libraries 'on-line' index, but here is a LINK to the library website . .

http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/libraries

. . which mentions the 'online Library Catalogue', using something called, the Viewpoint Server.

Finally, the below LINK takes you to a large list of "Newcastle Area Websites" (here on our SSC sub-forum) some of which - particularly those in 'Section 6' and in 'Section 7' (as well as perhaps, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 16) - may well prove of use/interest, to you . . .

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=990561

OH, and regarding . .

Newcastle Historian, please keep the classified columns for the cinema adverts coming as often as you can. If through yourself and other regulars on the North-East/Newcastle section, please can I keep you all up to date with many of the cinema theatre and local history websites nationally and worldwide that I am a contributor to?

I'm sorry I don't have,as i sometimes do, photographs of the Newcastle area cinemas you have advertised there on the very day of the newspaper printing, but owing to my membership of CinemaTreasures.org can I point you a bit further whereby only a few years later or earlier, you could do?

You might want to catch up on a lost link of Cinema Treasures, only recently revived. If you are keen on catching up with the Odeon, Byker from the 60's and 70's for example you are well recommended to follow this link here:-

www.mawgrim.co.uk/cavalcade/byker.jpg

Thereby you can index into a wealth of cinemas sadly long gone in the North-East and through the UK. Please be mindful to observe the site owner's request and refer to the source if you like myself are widening the circle of the websites viewers.

Some of my colleagues on CinemaTreasures have their own websites too, not easily known unless one spends some time on there. Maybe I can invite your friends on Newcastle SSC to do so, or otherwise I can provide some more links?
YES PLEASE!!!




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The Odeon, from the 90's I guess?

Yeah, that's how I remember it. There has always (in my lifetime) been a big important Odeon Cinema in the City Centre. I was sorry to lose the Pilgrim Street Odeon when it moved to the Gate, it was always one of our MAJOR cinemas and MY personal favourite, but at least we still had an Odeon in town.

Then, without warning or fanfare, Odeon just sold up to Empire . . and they were gone from the Gate and the City Centre completely . . almost un-noticed!

Anyway, here it was (as 'The Paramount') when it first opened in Pilgrim Street in 1930 . . .








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Man I love the Odeon/Paramount. I was lucky enough to go to see a few films there before it closed and believe it or not some football matches!!!

It looks stunning as the Paramount. I wll be totally gutted when it gets knocked down. Damn, I wish someone could save it and open it as a theatre again. What a location, I dread to think of what dross we will have in its place when it is EVENTUALLY replaced. :(
 
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