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Venues Listed in Cinema Project

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A brief history of the Odeon, with thanks to Cinema Treasures.

In 1927 St. Albans' first cinema (the Alpha, later called the Poly and still later, the Regent) burned down. The site was cleared and on 3 December 1931 the Capitol Cinema opened its doors. It had been designed by Percival Blow and J. Martin Hatfield, with internal decorations and design by Robert Cromie. It seated 1,168 in the stalls and 452 in the balcony. There was a 20 foot deep stage. Due to the slope of the land the cinema was entered at balcony level and patrons descended to the stalls. The Capitol Cinema was equipped with a Compton 2Manual/6Ranks theatre organ, a cafe and three dressing rooms.

In 1934 the cinema was enlarged, to the plans of Messrs Kemp and Tasker, to 1,728 seats. The Capitol was bought by General Cinema Finance and then passed to Odeon, who renamed the cinema in 1945.

One of the first batch of cinemas selected for tripling, the new three-screen complex opened in January 1973 with the two smaller screens (115 and 129 seats) tucked under the balcony and the circle still seating 452 as Screen 1. A fourth screen was added in 1988 in the front stalls area. All closed on 20th August 1995.

Find out more about the purchase and restoration of the former Odeon. 

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