Friday, 23 June 2017

The Odeon reveals a few secrets ....... the ongoing story of its demolition

Now I have seen plenty of pictures of Central Ref over the years but never one framed by a demolition site.

But in the course of recording the end of the Odeon that is exactly what Andy has done.

There in the background is the Library and in front of it a pile of rubble, a JCB and a bit of the inside of the old cinema.

Because this is the moment when Derek the Demolition man has started on the facade of the cinema and in the process opened up the inside to anyone who cares to gaze up into the spaces which most haven’t seen for decades.

I spent many happy hours in there as did my kids.

It was here that I saw West Side Story, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and on one memorable afternoon when I should have been listening to a lecture on American Foreign Policy between the wars I watched Woodstock and wished that I had been there in that field with Country Joe and the Fish instead of a food factory by the river Thames.

But I suppose three days in a field on Max Yasgur’s farm in Orange County, New York listening to everyone from Janis Joplin, Santana, the Who and Jefferson Airplane along with Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, and Canned Heat was never going to happen.

So sometime on a warm September day in 1971 I swapped Mr Wilson for Melanie, Country Joe and lots of happy young people in a field.

And while the Odeon was not that field we had the bonus of choc ices and Kia-ora drinks with the full knowledge that afterwards there was the promise of a few pints and a takeaway.

It has taken sometime for the demolition men to begin on the facade but soon even that will be gone allowing Derek the Developer to impose another new development and leave me to mutter something about abandoning hope and magic for a pile of steel and glass.

And yes I am well aware that at the end the Odeon was not a shinny example of a cinema at its best but it still had something that none of the modern multiplexes can emulate.

And that just leaves me with Andy's comment and question, "looking pretty grim. can you spot the gentlemen's facilities?"

Location; Manchester

Pictures; the Odeon, 2017, from the collection of Andy Robertson


  1. First movie I saw there was The Way of the Dragon (1974). The very last one Titanic (1997). Yes that looks like the gents upstairs loo.

  2. Didn't the Odeon have a Wurlitzer which rose from the floor? If so, where is the organ now?

  3. Didn't the Odean have a Wurlitzer which rose from the floor? If so, where is the organ now?

  4. Happy Hours spent here mostly on the Back Row I remember watching the First James Bond Film Dr No ,there was standing room only .