The Odeon, mid 1960s

In this photograph the film being shown was released in 1966, this may be a pointer to the year the shot was taken. It looks as if there is an empty plot beyond the cinema, this may be the time between the pub being demolished and the insurance office being built, another pointer to the year.

In the 1960s I was a regular and frequent cinema goer, I also went to many pop shows in both the Odeon and the Globe, in earlier times I also visited the other cinemas in Stockton.

The Empire, The Hippodrome, The Essoldo and even the Turner, these are the names I knew them by, I believe that some had changed their names over the years, The Hippodrome was always at Christmas to see the pantomime on an ICI trip.

Billingham Picture House was our main venue for the Saturday morning matinee throughout the 1950s.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

36 thoughts on “The Odeon, mid 1960s

  1. The cinemas in Norton need to be added to the list. I remember the Modern that became the Fiesta but what was the one round the corner called in Norton Avenue?

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    • Used to go to both as a bairn, other was as far as I know known as
      The Cinema, I also remember in the odeon during interval getting a pot of tea brought to you, am I right?
      Both modern & cinema were always packed out, no empty seats in those days.
      All the best.
      Derek

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    • Dave, it was the Avenue Cinema the only cinema in Norton until the Modern was opened. We went to the twopenny rush there on Saturday mornings until the Modern was open then the fourpenny rush for those of us who could afford it. Same pictures and shorts just more refined screaming is all.
      Took my first girl friend to the Modern Fourpenny rush, Christine we were all of mine years old, had to get a loan off next weeks pocket money to take her.
      Happy days.
      Frank

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    • I didn’t include the two Norton cinemas as. I only visited the Moderne the once and never visited the Avenue at all.

      I was only at the Moderne because my girlfriend, who was a big fan of Adam Faith, wanted to see the film “What A Whopper”, in which he starred, it was a truly awful film.

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  2. The cinemas in Norton need to be added to the list. The Modern of course that became the Fiesta. But what was the one round the corner in Norton Avenue called? I can’t remember.

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  3. When the film Zulu first came to Stockton very early 60s, I went with all my Swainby & Danby Road mates to see it, must have watched 4-5 times in first week, me and my mate cobby carbery loved that film, it came back in 70s and we both went to see it again, the film it self was not very accurate but still a great movie. Many many years later I visited to graves of Fred Hitch and Surgeon Reynolds, Fred Hitches grave is along side the Thames, a very large buff coloured stone with carved helmet on top, surgeon Reynolds grave is very modest, he’s buried in St Marys @ Kensal Rise, west London, my late brother Leonard visited John Rouse Merriot Chards grave and Henry Hooks grave, so the film had a strong affect on me and others.
    All the best.
    Derek

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    • Hi, Turners was great for cult movies like a Clockwork Orange, Easy Rider, Rocky Horror show, Silent Running etc and arty European movies It was rather small and IIRC on top of a travel agency in the semi modern block near the Royal Oak.

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      • Turners had a camera shop in Bishop Street… they ran a film club on their premises.
        Initially you could request what films you would like to see. I asked for “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad World” and they actually ran that film a few weeks later

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  4. OK, showing my age, I went to the Regal not long after it opened (late 1930’s) with my Parents to see a musical, my Parents loved musicals though they were black and white at the time. we went often up to and during the war, sometime after the war it became the Odeon nothing changed but the name.
    It was Found to be in unsafe condition and demolished in the sixties and then rebuilt.
    The Regal to me was a high end Cinema, cosy where the Globe was Large, the Empire and Hippodrome old, more down to earth and then we had the Plaza, least said the better although it had once been Grand and was still called that by Dad who grew up in Norton. He told me that the Empire Hippodrome and Grand had all been live Theatre during his youth.
    Cinema went out of fashion and those places had many different uses none seemed to last long, now if we wish to go to the Cinema it is multi unit costs the earth and you have an audience having their meals around you.
    Had I been asked to spend Millions on preserving a Cinema it would have been the Empire I loved that old building, the Globe was a newcomer and even when I used the Cinema’s not a patch on the Regal (Odeon) or the Modern in Norton.
    Only my opinion of course at least I have lived through Stockton old and New, seen the best and the worst. Having my last meal before Robinsons as I knew it (Debenhams) closes then going round the Town on my boot scooter I was sorry to see very little activity apart from the the enclosed shopping centre, it was heaving yet there is talk of demolishing it???
    Frank

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  5. Phil, I think the manager was Mr Goldthorpe, he was the husband of my first year infant school teacher Mrs Goldthorpe, Redbrook school, Roseworth est.

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  6. I was a regular here and the Globe but mostly the Hippodrome was the one I used the most
    as I lived in Milbank Street which was only a few streets away.

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  7. I loved going to the Pantomime at the Hipodrome every Christmas courtesy of ICI. Always got a chocolate ice lolly and more important a selection box at the end.

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  8. Hi Bruce, yes I remember going to Saturday morning cinema at this Odeon around 1970. I bought a stalls seat then sat on my own up in the circle; no one ever told me to move down. 😂 The films shown were very staged Disney educational films about wildlife, lions etc. and always old black and white Norman Wisdom comedies.

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  9. I used to go to the Saturday morning westerns at the Odeon as a child in 1958/59 and I remember seeing the Graduate with Dustin Hoffman about 1969 at the Turner cinema which I believe was upstairs above a shop I think just off the High Street. I’m not sure but I think it was in Bishop Street. Can anyone correct me if I’m wrong?

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      • Bruce The Grand Theatre or the Plaza as we knew it was in Bishop Street, you have probably parked your car on the space it once occupied.
        The history goes back to the 1800’s and I think it had several rebirths due to fires that was as a live Theatre, I never saw live acts there as my Dad did but went to the pictures at the Plaza a few times.
        We had plenty of Cinema’s in the area, 5 in Stockton, 2 in Norton, 1 in Billingham also Thornaby. My wife and I went to a Cinema in Yarm that showed Continental films until it burned down.
        Cinema’s Dance Halls Youth Clubs as I grew up Stockton was a hive of activities for us all, then it was all a bus ride or a walk. My Grandchildren wonder at what we did before mobile phones and iPads, I tell them we went out and enjoyed ourselves.
        Frank.

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  10. The Essoldo was previously called the ‘Cinema’
    For me the Odeon and the Globe competed against each other for my presence for the Saturday morning shows.

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