The Odeon Cinema

The title of this page could refer to several places in Ipswich. First, of course, there is the purpose-built Odeon, opened in 1936, at the top of Lloyds Avenue becoming a bingo hall in 1982. This building also had the 'ghost' of 'ODEON' visible on the facade.
The most recent building is the 'new' Odeon which was built on the old Mann Egerton site at Majors Corner. Opened in August 1991, this eyecatcher building at the junction of Woodbridge Road and St Margarets Street and St Helens Street – opposite The Mulberry Tree – was built as a multiplex cinema (total capacity 1,550), an alternative to sub-dividing the next-door Regent Theatre. (Confusingly, the Regent, the largest theatrical venue in East Anglia, had once been renamed 'The Odeon'.) The 'new' Odeon stood empty since its closure in August 2005. It is a modern take on an Art Deco cinema design of the 1930s; some like it, some deride it.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Majors Corner Odeon site 1960s1960s image courtesy
the Ipswich Society
Above: this rare 1960s photograph from the Ipswich Society's Image Archive (see Links), from the Peter Underwood collection, shows the buildings on the north of St Margarets Street, opposite the public toilets. In the left background is The Mulberry Tree public house on the corner of Woodbridge Road. Clearance of these buildings is about to take place at this time. The site later became the Mann Egerton showrooms and works and is now occupied by the unused 'new' Odeon cinema. The properties on the other side of the road were cleared a few years later.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Majors Corner Odeon 19971997 image
courtesy the Ipswich Society
Above: Brian Jepson's monochrome photograph from 1997 showing the traditional deco namestyle.

In September 2018 The Hope Church (formerly the Orwell Christian Fellowship since 1984), then based in Fore Hamlet, purchased the building and by 2020 had been refurbishing and adapting the building inside and out.

Ipswich Historic Lettering: Odeon Hope Church 22020 images courtesy Tim Leggett
The 'ghost' of the earlier 'ODEON' sign is picked out on the discoloured metal cladding, repleat with drill-holes.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Odeon Hope Church 1
Tim Leggett tells us that: 'there is another sign on the Woodbridge Road side which just says HOPE'.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Odeon Hope Church 32019 image
Above: the west-facing wall of the Odeon showing the shadow of the 'ODEON' sign, the cladding peppered with drill holes.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Odeon Hope Church 6   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Odeon Hope Church 52021 images
These 2021 images are couretsy of Mandy Gaylard.

The Regent Theatre article on this website gives the origin of the name 'Odeon'.



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