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Odeon Throwing Shapes


Like the majority of Odeon's cinemas, the Odeon Harrogate was built in the Streamlined Moderne style and was a product of the Weedon Partnership. Harry Weedon (1887-1970) became involved with the Odeon chain in 1934 and his company produced designs for some of the finest buildings of the period.⠀

Pre-war Odeon cinemas across the country, while similar and recognisable, are by no means standardised. Designed with modernist flare and nautical vibes… of the 250 or so built… no two were the same.⠀

How refreshing it seems, in a world of out-of-town superstores, fast-food restaurants and multiplex cinemas; all adopting cheap, identi-kit designs, that a brand would value a sense of occasion over fast pace construction… a sense of place over a cost-saving design… Odeon celebrated every town by building something unique.⠀

Because Odeon allowed for such varying schemes, we have been left with an outstanding legacy of Modernist buildings…and while time and changes in behaviours have led to the demise and demolition of many of these wonderful buildings… those that remain are exceptional examples of Great British architecture and design. ⠀

This old girl is still throwing shapes… a straight line here, a curve there…popping and locking in place… but the dominant feature of the Odeon Harrogate design is a central brown-brick tower, with a projecting, taller 'fin' clad in biscuit-coloured faience tiles. The fin is then crowned with some gorge red, neon, slender sans-serif letters, telling everyone, from a distance, that this was, is and will be the place in town to watch a picture.

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