It was revealed a few weeks back that the demolition of Newcastle’s Old Odeon will begin in November 2016. Earlier this year, I wrote a piece on the fate of the building which you can read here. At the time of writing, the building’s future looked bleak: we knew that the cinema would be demolished but we did not know when.
A few months later, an organisation called Save Newcastle Old Odeon was created to lobby for the preservation of the building. It contacted the council on many occasions, rallied support on social media, directed its members towards petitions and sent out press releases to the local papers. The group succeeded in publicising the issue but not in achieving its main goal: saving the iconic cinema.
We have learnt that the protection and preservation of this part of our heritage was a pipe dream. Neither us nor the council had the capital and influence to challenge Motcomb Estates’ (Reuben Brothers) decision to demolish the building. In the end, we are left with our imaginations, dreaming of what could have been.
Yesterday, a member of Save Newcastle Old Odeon uploaded a number of images of the original interior of the cinema, taken from an obscure issue of Picture House magazine from 2001, which show the building in its initial art deco splendour. We now have further confirmation that the decline and demolition of the cinema is a great loss for the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and its people.