Odeon Cinema – Ipswich

The Odeon cinema in Ipswich was the town’s first multiplex when it opened in 1991. A huge rival Multiplex opened on the edge of Ipswich in 1998. The popularity of the new cinema led to the demise of the Odeon, and it closed its doors for the final time in August 2005.

The day after our visit, work was due to begin on converting it into a nightclub, bowling alley and restaurant complex – the lobby was full of new bar equipment and fittings. Over a year later, the conversion hasn’t happened – developers pulled the plug on the conversion. The cinema, again, remains empty awaiting a buyer..

Lobby

The main lobby area is in a wonderful mock-art-deco style.

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  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
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Screens

Not much remains in the theatres – the chairs were hired, so were removed when the cinema closed.

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Bar area

More fab mock-art-deco stuff…

  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
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Projection booth

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  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
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  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
  • Thumbnail of Ipswich Odeon Cinema
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19 Responses to Odeon Cinema – Ipswich

  1. Sarah says:

    your photos are amazing but i just dont understand how these things happen especially when clearly in such good condition as this and still relatively new.

  2. Paul Ryder says:

    Did you ever find out what was on the film that was left behind?

  3. Daniel says:

    I ran this cinema projection room as a relief projectionist a couple of times in 96 as i was based at Colchester Odeon at the time. In 98 i had moved to the Virgin cinema and opened it as the Chief projectionist. The Virgin cinema at the time blew the socks off the Odeon, it was bright loud hip & trendy, for example just before the Virgin opened the Odeon installed luxury Pullman seats in a couple of rows in each of its screens to try and compete. Then after we opened and it realised that luxury came as standard at the Virgin it took them back out again so I heard. The Virgin had a vibe about it for the customers visiting it, the screens were so much bigger than the Odeon, it had a Kids party room and we used to pretend to let the kids start the film by using the staffroom TV remote, a walkie-talkies and our automated start projector being held in manual mode. The kids and audience in the cinema would countdown whilst the party crew member held the walkie-talkies open and me the projectionist would duck down out of site and push start when they got to zero, the Birthday kids would push a button on the tv remote whist pointing it at the box with the red light on it on the back wall (really the infra red deaf aid). It all worked like magic and the child loved it.

  4. kayla brook says:

    is this up for let again? i would let to get hold of floor plans for a better look at the space, any help would be great. kb

  5. scott says:

    who owns this building now? council? becuase it’s been shut for 5 years and nothingd been done with it, i seems a great shame for such an wonderful building to have nothing in it, i say they should open another odeon and compete with cineworld becuse if they have cheaper tickets surely they would generate more custom, it is an real shame to see it in this state,

  6. Kev says:

    I think it’s Ipswich Councils view in general to leave all unoccupied buildings in the town centre to rot.
    Look at Bar Fontaine down the road from the Odeon, or even Zest.
    Both would make amazing places for local bands to play but this will never happen..
    Even Woolworths will be empty for 10yrs I bet.
    Just wish someone would reopen the old Odeon as a cinema again, it looks in better condition that CineWorld does now!

    • Kev says:

      As per my above comment I noticed today that Woolworths has infact reopened..
      IBC have attracted more quality to the dead town center. I rest my case!

      (Can’t wait to see what happens to the old Co-op, Primark to move in perhaps?)

  7. Nigel Goody says:

    I’ve heard that another cinema chain (not odeon or cineworld) has looked around this site 3 times in the last couple of months, with a view to reopening it with all digital projectors.

  8. Mr Waverly says:

    A very sad demise for an adventurous building. It’s Art Deco design, and it’s shape always reminded me of one of those glorious 1930’s ocean liners. And now it sits, being eroded by the passage of time, but more by the exhausts of passing vehicles. It is true that IBC do seem to like leaving empty buildings to rot, and mention was made of Bar Fontaine not far away – I used to go there a lot when it was open, and it was very pleasant inside, with a lot of cash having been spent on the conversion. Alas, it sits, slowly decaying. Do the council care? No. Their byword seems to be ‘Inactivity’ I know that excoriating cash cuts are on the way, but IBC are always like this. They disgust me, for I voted for them. PAH!

  9. David says:

    I don’t remember going to this place for films but I did go in my early teens to a Yu-Gi-Oh cards club in the upstairs area (see photo 10) every Friday night. Great times.

    The Ipswich Borough Council need to do something to shift this place, it would be fantastic to see it up and running again.

    Thank you for bringing back memories.

  10. Pedro says:

    Well peeps I can promise if I won enough money on the euro lotto I’d reopen the odeon as a cinema and make it 10x better than it was and than ugc is! How much is it on the Market for? Does anyone know?

    Vote pedro!

  11. Kevin says:

    This place has a special place in my heart as at the tender age of 13 I saw a flash of Kylie Minogue’s breast in the film The Delinquents. I think the last film I saw here was Bedazzled – It was terrible!
    The reason I switched to Virgin was mentioned above: Better seats and a fresh vibe about the place. Now called Cineworld, that place is over priced and grubby (no competition, so no need to put any effort in).
    I have always loved the Odeon building and it is a shame to see it go to waste.

  12. John says:

    Can peeps remember the old ABC cinema in the Buttermarket area?

    • Mark says:

      Yes – according to my parents, it used to be called The Ritz. I remember going to matinees there in the 60s (and also the Gaumont, now the Regent on St Helen’s St). And on my 14th birthday, 1st Jan 1970, when I was allowed to see AA films (no, not Alcoholics Anonymous – AA was the next step down from an X certificate), the lady at the ticket office asked me how old I was and I said 14, proud as punch. So she charged me full adult price, miserable woman!

  13. Dazzle says:

    I remember the ABC very well. I saw my first “18” cert film there (The Thing) aged 16 in 1982. I saw Altered States there too in ’80, but I think it was an “AA” cert
    I remember it being a proper cinematic experience, from walking through the classic doors into the foyer, to the clouds of cigarette smoke illuminated in the projector beam.
    My recent experiences of cinema was stinky feet, mobile phones, people talking all the way through, uncomfortable seats, and they leave soft lights on for H&S reasons!!! It’s a cinema!!! It’s meant to be dark!!!

  14. MrBobs says:

    I also think it is a real shame

    Anyone up for creating/signing/promoting an epetition on the IBC website

    http://petitions.ipswich.gov.uk/

    Not sure it will do any good, but can’t do any harm.

    MrBobs

    PS – Really enjoyed the article, pictures and comments

  15. Lemontango says:

    Interesting reading. Can anyone remember what was on the site before the odeon was built?

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