Demolition brings loss of the Odeon home for fans of the good old days

THE loss of Doncaster's famous art-deco entertainment venue the Odeon Cinema, Hall Gate became a more significant issue when the demolition works commenced in October and which are now nearing completion.

The actual enormity of the destruction of the former Odeon Cinema has not been fully realised until the demolition works have got under way.

To some, the scenes were so dramatic that many mature and older folk were overcome by emotion.

It is a great pity that scenes such as these were not evident to be captured throughout the campaign by Friends of Doncaster Odeon to get the building listed. For weeks, scores of people have turned up daily to take photographs.

One of the onlookers I spoke to on his way to the Civic Theatre for his concert with Billy Pearce was former Thorne resident Duncan Norvelle, who back in the early 90s was the last comedian to top the bill at the Odeon.

Odeon bill-toppers who have signed the petition include: Mike Harding, Billy Connolly, Cannon and Ball and Jimmy Cricket. Further support has come from Tommy Steele and the 89-year-old legendary American movie star Mickey Rooney.

Many people are still expressing their dismay as to why there was not greater support in the efforts to get the Odeon listed and to oppose its subsequent demolition.

I do not have a crystal ball but I suspect that this could be because of the overwhelming and considerable support to save the Grand Theatre, which is already a Grade Two listed building despite its very neglected and vulnerable appearance this days.

Whilst planning permission was granted on June 30 for the former Odeon to be replaced by a casino, shops and offices, this is a scheme which I will believe when I see it.

Ray Nortrop

Friends of Doncaster Odeon