Remembering Leeds cinemas

When I first moved to Leeds in 1995, there were many cinemas to choose from:

  • The Odeon, Headrow (5 screens)
  • The ABC, Vicar Lane (3 screens)
  • The Lounge, North Lane, Headingley (single screen, stalls and balcony)
  • Cottage Road Cinema, Headingley (single screen)
  • Hyde Park Picture House (single screen, stalls and balcony)

The Warner Village multiplex in Kirkstall at Cardigan Fields (now Vue as of 2006, with 9 screens) opened in 1998.  It was a little bit soulless but had projections in the foyer of the likes of Bugs Bunny at the time of opening.

The 13-screen Ster Century cinema in Leeds Town Centre opened in 2002, and became part of the Vue group in 2005.  This effectively killed the Odeon Headrow (which is now a branch of Primark).

abcleeds  The ABC (which was a little cinema with a lovely atmosphere and by far my favourite of the city centre options), closed in February 2000.  It had been open since 1934 (originally called The Ritz).  It has since been demolished.

odeonleeds  The Odeon (opened as the Paramount in 1932) closed in October 2001.

odeonmerrion  There is also a ‘ghost Odeon’ in the Merrion Centre, which was open from 1964-1977, closing after the Odeon Headrow became a twin cinema and just as it was about to become a triple screen.  This area on the 1st floor of the centre has not been used since.

loungeleeds  The Lounge, which had lost much of its audience when the Cardigan Fields cinema opened, closed without any warning in January 2005.  It had now been demolished apart from the façade, which is due to be incorporated into any future development.  A pity, as this was a place I spent many happy hours when I lived in Headingley and visited the cinema every week.

cottageroadleeds  The Cottage Road (opened 1912) remains open.  In July 2005 Cottage Road was taken over in a last-minute deal by Charles Morris, after the staff had been issued with redundancy notices.

hydeparkleeds  The Hyde Park Picture House (opened 1914) remain open in 2013.

My grateful thanks to Vad Falcone, who took the photos in 2002.  They were used for my live poetry performance of ‘Lost Cinemas’ which played at the Sheffield Showroom and Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill in 2005.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Leeds cinemas

  1. Thanks for posting. I’m from Leeds, and I used to spend many a happy hour in both the ABC and The Odeon. It’s so sad to see the photos of them all boarded up. I never really made the link that when I’m going into Primark it’s the old cinema.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. The thing I loved about Leeds is the huge number of former cinemas that survive in other usages – the Star, Lyric, Clock, Abbey.

      Fabulous buildings.

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