Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Guide Bridge Odeon, the Roxy at Hurst Cross and a social club

Now I have got to say it takes a great leap of imagination to place the old St Pauls Church Centre on Stockport Road as an Art Deco cinema.

What was the Guide Bridge Odeon, 2015
But that was what it had been, opening in 1936 with Bing Crosby in "Anything Goes" and closing just 25 years later with the film "Man in the Moon" starring Kenneth More.

And by most picture houses that was a short run.

According to Lost Cinema Treasures,* it was planned as “the Verona Cinema a project of local builders; P. Hamer, Verona Cinema (Guide Bridge) Ltd ......[but just as] ......... the construction of the cinema was almost completed P. Hamer sold the building to Oscar Deutsch and it opened as one of his Odeon theatres. 
P. Hamer then used the proceeds of the sale to build the Roxy Cinema, at Hurst Cross, which was designed by Drury & Gomersall.”

The Odeon, Guide Bridge, circa 1938
Which as a blog story rather means that you get two for one because the Roxy opened in 1938 only to close in 1960 and has now gone forever marked only a small supermarket on the site and a row of shops bearing the same name opposite.

So far I have only come across one picture of the Roxy and from that I am not sure it matches in grandeur the Odeon at Guide Bridge.

But I know there are people who remember it and some who worked there, but alas I am not one of them.

I can’t even claim to have gone to the Odeon and when I did walk through its doors back in 1975 it was already a social club and that impressive art deco exterior along with some interesting features inside were long gone.

All of which just leaves me to return to that opening night, when cinema goers not only got Bing Crosby in "Anything Goes" but Harold Lloyd in "The Milky Way".

The Roxy, Queens Road, date unlnown
And depending on who you were taking and how far you wanted to impress the person of your dreams, you could have watched Bing and Mr Lloyd from one of the 330 seats in the circle, or the 834 in the stalls.

All very different from what is on offer today.

Painting; St Paul's Church and Centre Ashton-under-Lyne  © 2015 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,
Facebook:  Paintings from Pictures

Pictures; the Odeon Guide Bridge, circa 1938 lender Mr Cropper, t09062, and the Roxy Cinema, date unknown t09060, courtesy of Tameside Image Archive,

* Lost Cinema Treasures,

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