Comments from Tim

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Tim commented about Everyman York on Dec 24, 2017 at 2:38 am

Morning all, It’s been announced that the Everyman will open to the public on Saturday the 30the of December. Having had a sneak peek at the restoration the quality of the finishes is fantastic. The downstairs foyer has an island counter/bar which echoes the original ticket paybox from 1937. Missing columns in this area and also the circle foyer have been recreated to original specifications. The downstairs screens which were always a bit shoddy in my opinion have been tastefully redecorated with decorative sound proof boarding. Screen one is the main auditorium and has the floating screen which might take some getting used to in front of the former proscenium. All this area is painted in Everyman Grey with the decorative acoustic panel feature highlighted in gold. The original ventilation panels did not survive behind the boxed in areas so i’ve been told and sadly neither did the talked about mural in the circle foyer. This has been returned to it’s original double height space and a manificent trough light fixture has been restored and painted a 1930’s inspired gold.. Can’t wait to visit and give it a try..

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jul 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

Apologies about the lack of a news post on the reopening. The cinema re-opened on the 19th of June and I went to the early evening show of Transformers 2 to have a look at what had been achieved in the 2 month refurbishment period.
Although Reel’s plan was to have a total refurbishment of the building before opening, these plans changed in order to get the cinema open asap and bringing in an income. Not that this has meant a botch job, far from it.
The downstairs foyer has been totally refurbished with the creation of a brand new ticket and concessions counter. New signage in the deco style fits in well and elements of the original painted decorative treatments have been revived on the grand double staircase and upstairs foyer.
New toilet facilities have been installed including a disabled one in the main foyer.
The whole building has had a thorough clean up, with carpets, still the Odeon 80’s style, having specialist cleaning treatment. The feeling of walking back into the main auditorium, Screen 1 again after nearly 3 years of being boarded up was brilliant and everything looks fresh,even though for now a lot of the original carpet and seating has been retained.
The seating has been been re-upholstered and is very comfortable although new seats with better leg-room may have been better. Reports in the press state they were re-upholstered rather than replaced because they were listed? Although the building is of course listed Grade II I have my doubts this covers the seating as well, particularly since none of it is original to 1937, the majority I would say were from the 70’s or early 80’s!!
The only current sticking points I would have would be the aforementioned lack of leg-room and also the sound system needs some work. Whilst the sound effects created by such a bombastic film such as Transformers 2 were smashing, when it came to the characters talking there was the old problem of echo and clarity ( a problem carried over from when Odeon ran the complex) I do however think these are just teething problems and should be easy enough to iron out.

Competitive pricing on admission is another sweetener with Wednesdays being only £3.00 all day and over 5,000 have already visited the building in it’s first 10 days.

Further refurbishment will continue and Managing Director Mr K C Suri has announced that he will hopefully be uncovering the former Circle Foyer mural which has lay hidden above a false ceiling for over 40 years.

Hurray for Reel and thanks for bringing this grand old lady back to life. I thought this day may never come.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:59 am

As announced today in the local paper it is hoped that the re-opening of the cinema will go ahead on Friday the 19th of June with a showing of Transformers 2 in Screen 1.

Refurbishment is still continuing with new screens being fitted in all three auditoria this week.

Existing toilet facilities have been replaced completely and new disabled toilets installed in the foyer. A new ticket and concession kiosk has been built and the outside canopy repaired.

I for one am looking forward to see how the grand deco landmark has been given a face lift.

Tim commented about Everyman York on May 31, 2009 at 7:52 am

Thanks Martin.

Latest news is that they are hoping for a reopening in mid June once the initial redecoration has been completed.

Personally I can’t wait for a peek inside and to start watching films there again.

Tim commented about Everyman York on May 17, 2009 at 11:27 am

Hopefully yes, To be honest the announcement caught me on the hop as although I knew there had been workmen in the building I didn’t realise they were getting it together so fast.

I can see why of course to get it ready for the onslaught of the summer blockbusters.

Their latest plans for exterior have been to apply for 4 signs showing their Reel cinemas brand name, whilst retaining the original Odeon sign over the main facade. Three for the canopy and one illuminated one which they want to attach to the fins on the tower front.

I’ll let you know Ian when I have a definate answer. They can be elusive :¬)

Tim commented about Everyman York on May 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Not sure at this stage, as it’s not been mentioned, though will keep my ear to the ground.


Tim commented about Everyman York on May 14, 2009 at 11:07 am

It’s been a few months since I last commented as I was really hoping to find out some good news.

Well everyone, here is the news fans of the Odeon York have been waiting for. According to press reports today the cinema is slated for a mid-June opening.

Work has been underway, as StruttingRooster commented, inside the building for a few weeks now with the initial plan to get it up and running to generate income and then look at any future major refurb.

A 16 strong team have been working 12-14 hour days to get the place in some sort of order.

Work carried out already includes installation of two new commercial boilers for the heating system. Removing the old bathroom facilities (They were BAD)

Repairing and re-plastering the foyer areas. Removing seating for recovering.

Further work will include the construction of a new concessions counter and upstairs bar, installing new toilet facilities and decorating all 3 screens.

None of the work so far carried out has impact on the buildings listed status and for the time being no work have been carried out on the brickwork exterior. Reel seem very keen to restore original features, although I would think this would be done at a later stage?

This is really fantastic news and I for one can’t wait to support it.

As always more news when I have it.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Feb 17, 2009 at 6:54 am

A bit of news and a bit of clarification.

I know Paul has been following this particular cinema for a number of years and has commented on here before about purchasing it. I believe through previous enquiries and at the time of the campaign, I also provided as much contact information as I could as to who to approach with any offers. Can I ask Paul how you would view running the building given that I’m assuming this would be your first UK cinema purchase? York has 3 theatres and the buildings stage depth would preclude lives performance without rebuilding work. Would you aim for film use?

The building was never for sale, it was only ever the lease that was offered for sale by the former operators, Odeon. The building itself is owned by insurance company Norwich Union so contacting York City Council would not help. Approaches were made at the time of the campaign to determine the ways forward but as they stated at the time the leaseholders had every right to dispose of the lease as they saw fit.

Reel do have a good track record in refurbishing some of the older properties in their portfolio and respect the original fabric when it comes to refurbishing them, just look at the Curzon Loughborough.

Yes it’s taking time to do this, and I’m as exasperated as anyone that we haven’t got this jewel open again and welcoming patrons. Unfortunately with the economy going rapidly down the toilet decisions are taking even longer. I’m aware that cinemas can do well through a downturn as people look to curb their spending and look to entertainment closer to home.

In view of this I understand that Reel maybe now planning what they originally announced in getting the place spruced up and the doors open in the first instance and using the revenue generated to carry out further improvements and bring the place back to it’s Art Deco glory. Everything crossed in anticipation and, as always, more news when I have it.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Apr 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm

No news on the refurb as yet. Discussions are supposed to be being held between Reel, the local council and the councils conservation officer as to what can be done with the listed building, both externally and internally.
I was told that I’d be kept updated by the conservation officer once these had started, as I have a keen interest and knowledge of the cinema, but have had no contact as yet.
In the meantime I’ve been carrying out research into the orginal interior decoration, colour schemes and what still remains etc with a view to producing some display material to show the new owners as they seem to favour looking at the restoration of original features.
The sign is most likely to be removed as I doubt Odeon would want there trademark name to remain on the building, but I will be pressing that its saved rather than ending up in the skip.

As ever more news when I have it.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jan 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Things seem to be taking shape as I’ve noticed the official Reel Cinemas website now includes and entry for ‘Reel York’.

Clicking on the site it simply says ‘Reel York opening soon after complete refurbishment’

Looks like things are starting to happen. Will swing by the place and see if anythings happening. Probably a bit early to expect as discussions were going to be held with planners, conservation architect and English Heritage.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jan 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Hi Ian, Definately will let you know if and when I hear from then again and when I get the visit set up.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jan 7, 2008 at 10:52 am

Happy New Year Kev,

Things have been a little bit quiet, but I had an email from the Reel Cinemas managing director a couple of months ago. I’d sent them a copy of our campaign pack and also copies of the original Maltby photo’s from shortly after it opened which I thought may help with the proposed restoration of the building.

I’d also requested the possibility of a look round before work commenced and if I could follow their restoration work to create a photographic record.

Mr Suri replied to say they were dealing with the recent opening of their Hull new build and when work commenced at York, supposedly 1st half of this year, he’d get in touch with me to arrange a visit. I think the first thing they’ll be doing is submitting their plans and discussing the project with the council’s planners and conservation architect.

Hopefully things will start to move along soon and the work will get under way. As it stands the conservation architect had said she’ll be in touch with me once the talks are underway.

As always I’ll post any new developments when I hear them.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Sep 16, 2007 at 3:45 am

Its been announced that the cinema is unlikely to reopen until next year as the new owners are now planning a major refurbishment, rather than an intial clean up which was first mooted.
The managing director, Mr Kailash Suri, has said that discussions between the local council, English Heritage and the companies architects will begin in the autumn to come up with acceptable proposals to restore it to its art deco glory.
How many screens the complex has will then be decided on. Initial plans were announced that they wished to subdivide the largest screen into 2 with 3 smaller ones below, where previously there were just 2.
Before contracts were exchanged the building did unfortunately suffered minor vandalism whilst shuttered as vandals pulled some boarding away from the main entrance caused damage to the foyer area and the main cinema screen was slashed. However this was reported and the building was made secure again within 2 days.

Licensing conditions have been agreed with York Council which include steps to prevent people loitering outside and causing a nuisance.
The small car park at the rear of the cinema (which is about 25 spaces) is to be for disabled customers and staff only. Whilst the cinema has been shuttered this has been used by nearby residents, so wheel clamping will be brought in to enforce this.

With this sort of committment it is hoped that this sleeping beauty will have a happy ending after all.

Tim commented about Reopening for Odeon Cinema on Jul 21, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Bombing was carried out over a wide range of English cities, usually those that had heavy industry or main rail links, which York has.
Its unlikely that the building will be called Odeon as that is the trademarked name of one of the UK’s cinema circuits. Reel cinemas properties are just know as Reel so it is expected that the building will be rebranded as this. The original sign is however included in the buildings protected status and will need permission if it is to be removed, though as its the last type of sign in existence it does warrant every effort to save it.

Tim commented about Sebastian Theater on Jul 18, 2007 at 7:27 am

There was also another backwards cinema in York, England. It opened as The Electric Theatre on 3rd of June 1911 and was the city’s first purpose built cinema.
It became the Scala in 1951 and later closed in 1957. The buildings ornate exterior survices and now welcomes customer into a furniture shop. The rake of the floor is still in evidence as is internal plasterwork.
The building is Grade II listed as a building of historic importance and the owners look after it well.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jul 15, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Absolutely Ian, no problem. I only had an hour in the building the other week and there was so much to explore.
The agent did say that the exchange of contracts was imminent so hopefully Reel will oblige and allow a longer visit for a proper look round, in all the store rooms, roof and circle voids, basement, etc etc.
It should be an interesting project to document, especially if they are going to restore the original remaining features and fingers crossed the uncovering of the mural!

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jul 15, 2007 at 10:27 am

Cheers Kev, That’s a great pic. The Maltby photo’s are a great record of the Odeon circuit in it’s heyday.


Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Had the opportunity to have a very quick look round the building yesterday, thanks to the selling agents, and take a few pics. The idea I’m planning is to hopefully follow the planned refurbishment right the way through and produce a photographic record, subject to the new owners permission of course.
The building is thankfully still weather-tight apart from a small pool of water in an upstairs corridor outside the projection booth for Screen 1 (The projector is still there as well as the cake-stand platter) Also a smashed panel in the front doors where some had gotten in behind the security boarding (now secure again)

Downstairs, currently housing the small screens 2 & 3 it smelt a bit damp. It will be interesting to see how the plans to create 3 screen in this area will come about. If you wanted to see a film here in the past you generally made sure it was playing in the large screen 1 as these 2 where rather pokey!
Its a fascinating rabbit-warren of a building, with store rooms staircase all over the place.
Hope to make contact with the new owners soon and maybe be allowed a longer visit next time.


Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 28, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Hi Mark, You’ll no doubt see from all my posts on here how involved I am with the Odeon and the long running campaign to prevent it from closing and now, hopefully under its new owners, being restored to its glory.
Would be interested to know if I could see copies of your photo’s etc as I’ve a great passion for this building and have worked on researching its history for a number of years along with the other cinemas that used to be in York. I’m always interested in collating peoples memories etc, if you’d be up for it? I used to work at the Warner Bros multiscreen for the first 4 years of its operation.

You can email me at

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 24, 2007 at 6:59 am

Thanks Strutting Rooster. Its been hard work but such fantastic news makes it all worthwhile.
Yorkshire Evening Press do have a library, but for photographs not back issues.
The holdings for these are with Yorks central reference library, details below.

York City Library
Library Square
Museum Street
York, YO1 7DS
01904 655631

They are either on microfilm or hand bound newspapers, depends on the year. Most are on microfilm though as I’ve made use of it many a time for my cinema research.

They go back in to the Victorian period as far as I’m aware.


Tim commented about Reopening for Odeon Cinema on Jun 20, 2007 at 3:32 am

No problem. York was bombed in the war on the night of April 28th 1942, the main target being the cities railway station, as York was a major railway city. The only cinema to be affected by this bombing was the Tower in New Street close to the river, which was hit by an incendiary device which destroyed part of the roof and balcony. The cinema closed for 2 months whilst debris was cleared from the building and temporary repairs were made. It reopened and carried on till 1966 when it was sold and demolished for a shopping arcade.
The Odeon was one of three cinemas opened in 1937. The Regal, another super cinema was opened by the ABC circuit and survived until the late 1980’s when it was demolished for a shopping centre and The Clifton was a small suburban picture house which still survives as a bingo hall.

Tim commented about Reopening for Odeon Cinema on Jun 19, 2007 at 10:01 am

There’s only a couple of others on cinematreasures, The Rialto, demolished 2003 and the city’s first purpose built cinema The Scala/formerly Electric which is now well preserved as a furniture retailers (both posted by Ian Grundy).
I’ll definately keep visitors updated about the developments and I am in the process of contacting the new owners with a view to offering any help I can. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and every effort needs to be made to ensure that its a success from day 1.
I’ll also be lobbying for the mural to be revealed in all its 1937 glory.

Tim commented about Reopening for Odeon Cinema on Jun 19, 2007 at 6:43 am

What I meant was that all other pre-war cinemas (York used to have 10 at one time) closed or were to put to other uses.

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 18, 2007 at 12:48 pm

In response to posting by Howard the mural runs round the upper wall of the former balcony foyer upstairs. The area is lit by the three large windows you can see on the facade, but in the early 1960’s as part of Odeons modernisation for the cinema a false ceiling was installed lowering the height and cutting out a lot of the natural light form the windows in the process. If you look at the picture on the top of this posting the top three panes of glass on each window look into the void above the false ceiling. This ceiling is now just under the bottom of the mural and it still survives intact above as well, I’m told the original large hanging light fitting.
The plans for the balcony is for 2 screens, not 3 which is a shame as the original space was one of the reasons to visit the building but sensitively done it means that they should still have the big screen feel. We await to see their plans for this space.
York has a multiscreen on the outskirts of the city but for a lot of people central facilities are a lot more convenient. That complex is now 17 years old and hasn’t been refurbsihed in 17 years!! Also the cost of tickets and associated food etc is one of the most expensive in the area. The arts cinema does a good trade but the gap left when the Odeon closed proves that a city centre mainstream venue is still needed.
Coupled with York undergoing a massive population explosion over the last few years with many large scale housing developments going up in the area hopefully means that this deco gem will be welcomed with open arms by residents and visitors alike. If it means that the building will be restored to its former glory then i’ll go into the city and drag people in myself if needs be :¬))

Tim commented about Everyman York on Jun 18, 2007 at 12:32 pm

The stories now on the news page.

Thanks for your continued support Kev.