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28 October 2014

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You are in: Leeds > Civic Life > Local History > Cinema dreams

The cinema's locked doors

The cinema's locked main doors

Cinema dreams

There is a spectacular 1970s time-capsule cinema hidden away right in the centre of Leeds.

The former Odeon cinema, in the Merrion Centre, is now largely forgotten and yet the site remains mothballed behind locked dooors, suspended in a 1970s timewarp. The site only operated as a cinema for about 13 years before it was closed.

Where busy shoppers now draw out money from a couple of cash machines was the main entry into a cinema that could accommodate nearly 1,000 film fans. The doors have now been boarded up but remain, padlocked, behind the wall holding the cash machines.

The cinema occupies a space above the current Woolworths store and, if you take the stairs in the Merrion Centre to the upper level, you can still see a second set of doors  near an entrance into the Merrion Centre car park.

The projection equipment has been removed, as have the seats but much of the building remains untouched.

You cannot now get into the cinema. However, Greg Taylor was inside, back in 2002, and took a series of remarkable photographs. Greg, who works for a TV company, was inside the redundant building scouting for possible TV locations.

Greg Taylor says:

"I am interested in old cinemas and I've been right through the whole place.

"This site is unusual because the cinema is quite modern and it was only open for a short time.

"Wandering around it is like being right back in 1977."

It seems that many people have fond memories of the old cinema, site user Alan Breese emailed us to say:

"I remember the Merrion Centre Cinema. I was a student at Leeds University and went to see the film Goal which highlighted England winning the World Cup in 1966. Happy Days."

Have you memories of seeing a film at the Odeon in the Merrion Centre? Or do you know of other parts of 'hidden Leeds'?

email: leeds@bbc.co.uk

last updated: 26/03/2008 at 16:49
created: 10/08/2006

You are in: Leeds > Civic Life > Local History > Cinema dreams



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