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Historic environment reference : HE0024
Historic site reference HE0024 
Grade Listed Building Grade 1 
Building type Culture / entertainment building 
Property name or no. Odeon Cinema 
Road name Bath Street 
Parish St. Helier 
Postcode  
Statement of significance Cinema, 1952, by T. P. Bennett & Son. The Jersey Odeon was, in 1952, the first new purpose built cinema designed and constructed within the British Isles since 1939. Architecturally, it is one of the best surviving post-war cinemas of the period 1950-1960 and is the only complete example of an Odeon cinema from this period. 
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Historic interest Cinema, 1952, by T. P. Bennett & Son. The Jersey Odeon was the first new purpose built cinema designed and constructed within the British Isles since 1939. Architecturally, it is one of the best surviving post-war cinemas of the period 1950-1960 and is the only complete example of an Odeon cinema from this period. Additionally, it is the only historic cinema building left in Jersey and has architectural merit both internally and externally. Cinema buildings define the history and culture of twentieth-century society and as an exemplar of the genre from the post-war period the Jersey Odeon is a unique surviving example. The Jersey Odeon compares very favourably to the limited examples of the period within the British Isles. Similar to the way in which the Festival of Britain provided a cultural impetus in mainland Britain, the building can be seen as symbolic of Jersey's regeneration after wartime occupation. 
External Description The Odeon was designed by T. P. Bennett & Son of London. It follows the traditions of the Odeon 'house-style', evident in the line of windows above the entrance, horizontal banding at ground floor level and tower to Bath Street. In addition, it illustrates the ways in which the design of cinemas were to evolve in the post-war period, with such features as the gentle curves within the auditorium and plain walls only decorated by acoustic tiles arranged in a decorative effect. With a better understanding of acoustics in the post-war period, elaborate decoration was no longer needed - and nor was it welcomed in an age given to greater simplicity by choice as well as economic necessity. Externally, the building is virtually as constructed. The external fa├žades survive intact with only the loss of the original entrance doors and vertical ODEON sign to the tower and the boxing-out of the canopy. The external walls are constructed of load-bearing concrete blocks (made on the Island) with a steel frame used to support the roof, confirmed from reports of the time and viewed on site. The chequered-board pattern was created by rubbing down alternate squares with carborundum stone and appears in very good condition. All the 1950s steel windows survive, with horizontal glazing bars that give a strong banding to the design. The small windows with horizontal hoods to the escape staircase survive, as do the windows and doors at the external terrace level. So does the quirky billiard-ball motif above the windows to the circle foyer. The tower feature to Bath Street, which carried the only Odeon sign with a projecting hood, paid homage to the 1930s circuit style. Also reminiscent of the 1930s Odeons, just below roof level, is the rounded corner with the corridor enclosed by glazing. It could be that the chequered-board pattern recalls the faience squares of previous Odeons, and the basket weave alternations of tiles. It is also a feature found in Scandinavian architecture, then fashionable in the British Isles. Certainly it appears that in the 1950s, Rank was maintaining the Odeon house-style (as seen by comparing Jersey with the Odeon, Worcester (1950) and Odeon, Westbourne Grove (1955). 
Internal Description Internally, the cinema retains many features of interest (albeit in some cases hidden behind later subdivision) and, although the building has been subdivided and the overall volume of the original auditorium is no longer evident, the core quality and plan form, along with the decorative fixtures that remain, make a coherent whole. The subdivision is mainly lightweight and reversible in nature. The plan form is still recognisable despite the subdivision for twinning in 1981, the upstairs screen being itself subdivided in 1989 and the downstairs in 1992. The foyers survive particularly well. The entrance foyer has lost its central paybox and bar, but the feature columns and trough lighting remain. The two staircases at either side designed in the spirit of the Festival of Britain especially the curved wooden handrails, are intact. The circle foyer is almost unaltered, save for the loss of soft furnishings. The original light-box fittings remain in situ, together with the neon strips edging the ceiling and wall junctions. Many internal doors remain throughout. The circular uplighters remain in what was originally the rear of the auditorium (now corridors in some cases) and the screens. Although the original auditorium has been split, many features remain such as the acoustic tiles, grills, handrails, dado, skirtings, architraves, barriers, balcony front and light fittings. Other features appear to survive behind later fitting out for the subdivision such as the proscenium. The inserted walls and dropped ceiling all appear reasonably lightweight and reversible. The original projection room survives mainly intact, complete with its projectors. It is not known what remains of the stage or if the original curved ceiling and pendant lights remain above the inserted one. 
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