1929 to 2003
A variety of shops, courtyards and buildings up to five storeys high were demolished in 1929 to allow this cinema to be built.
An art deco cinema, The New Victoria, was built on the site and opened on August 25, 1930.
The cinema was renamed, The Odeon, in 1964 but closed in 2003.
Please click on one of the thumbnail images above to read more about the history of the cinema.
Update: January 2006
1. Housing Complex?
2. Music Venue?
The cinema was sold to Duddingston House Properties. They originally planned to convert it to 240-room student housing complex with a bar and restaurant but have now withdrawn their plans following protests from community leaders, councillors, heritage watchdogs and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Duddingston House Properties now plan to convert the cinema into a live music venue and nightclub. The Secretary of the Southside Community Council has expressed concern over this latest proposal.
However the developers will attempt, on January 16 2006, to obtain a licence to allow the building to remain open daily until 3am and to operate as a "concert hall or discotheque".
Evening News January 11, 2006: p.11
Update: December 2006
3. Boutique Cinema?
4. Budget Hotel?
The plans to convert 'The Odeon' to a live music venue and nightclub were thrown out earlier this year by the city's licensing board.
So Duddingston House Properties entered into talks with a consortium led by property consultant and developer, Dale Gibson, with a view to creating a 'boutique cinema' in the building. However, after several months' of discussions, no agreement has been reached.
So Duddingston House Properties, owners of 'The Odeon' plan to speak to the council in early 2007 with a view to submitting an application to convert the cinema into a budget hotel with a licensed Café-bar or restaurant facing on to South Clerk Street.
Evening News December 16, 2006: p.11
Update: May 2007
1. Housing Apartments?
4. Budget Hotel?
There have been rumours that Duddingston House Properties would like to sell the former cinema, but the company insists that it has no intention to selling the building.
They expect to retain the art deco exterior of the B-listed building and to seek permission to demolish the interior and create a budget hotel or apartment complex with Café/restaurant at the front of the building.
Evening News May 31, 2007: p.21
Update: June 2007
3. Boutique Cinema?
6. Artists' Studios?
7. Gallery Space?
The owners of the former cinema, Duddingston House Properties, pulled out of talks with a consortium of businessmen a few months ago on the grounds that the consortium had insufficient financial backing.
This consortium had hoped to buy the building and restore it to its former glory, opening a "boutique cinema" with artists' studios, gallery space and an Odeon Express themed Café-bar.
However, the consortium is still in place, and is keen to re-open discussions.
Duddingston House Properties say they are still more than happy to speak to the consortium about the building if the consortium has a serious proposition to discuss.
Evening News June 5, 2007: p.10.
Update: August 2007
Duddingston House Properties, owners of the former Odeon Cinema are now putting the old cinema up for sale. This is a B-listed property that is expected to be marketed for offers over £3.5m. Duddingston House Properties paid £2m for the property in 2003.
The present owners have encountered problems in seeking permission to develop this property.
Perhaps this will provide further opportunities for the consortium wishing to convert the cinema into an Arts Centre. This consortium includes Graham Wear, a former manager of the Odeon and Andy Lyst, a former manager of the Playhouse.
This raises hopes that the consortium
Evening News August 16, 2007: p.8
Campaign to save the Cinema
Current plans are for Duddingston House Properties, owners of the former Odeon Cinema, to convert the building into a 231-bedroom hotel, artists' studios and restaurant. These plans have been approved by the city council, but are awaiting listed building consent from Historic Scotland.
The company intends to preserve the facade and entrance foyer, but not the remainder of the building.
A campaign has been organised in an attempt to save the cinema. Edinburgh-born Ewan Bremner, who played Spud in Trainspotting, has become the latest celebrity to sign the petition.
Other actors who have campaigned to save The Odeon, since it closed in 2003, include Sean Connery, Brian Cox, James Cosmo, and Dougray Scott.
Evening News March 27, 2009: p.4.
Update: April 2009
Campaign attracts more Signatures
More than 4,600 people have now signed the campaign to save The Odeon. Historic Scotland has recommended a public inquiry and is expected to make a recommendation to the Scottish Government this week.
Campaigners claim that the owners, Duddingston House Properties, have not fully investigated whether or not the cinema might have a viable future if it were to retain its auditorium.
Campaigners hope to raise enough money to allow them to run the building as a cinema, film library and Café.
Evening News April 24, 2009: p.23.
Update: June 2009
Following a campaign against Edinburgh Council's decision to allow The Odeon to be developed as a 231-bedroom hotel, retaining only its facade and foyer, the Scottish Government's Culture Minister, Mike Russell, has ordered an inquiry into plans to convert the cinema.
Evening News June 4, 2009, 2007: p.23.
Update: November 2009
Campaigners are insisting that more should be done to protect the Odeon, following an incident last weekend when vandals kicked in the back door of the cinema and smashed a statue.
The owners of the cinema, Duddingston House Properties who bought the site six years ago wish to demolish part of the cinema and create a boutique hotel, but following public opposition to these plans, the Scottish Government is now reviewing the case.
Evening News Nov 4, 2009, p.21.
Chris Humphries wrote that he was interested in the campaign to try to save the Odeon building. He would like to contact the campaigners and offer his support, but does not know how to contact them.
I don't know how to contact the campaigners either; and don't know if the campaign is still continuing.
Do you know the answer to these questions? If so, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Chris.
Thank you. Peter Stubbs: March 14, 2010
Thank you to Simon Howarth for letting me know that he had contacted George Foulkes MSP to enquire about the Odeon. George Foulkes asked this question in the Scottish Parliament.
"To ask the Scottish Executive what the reason is for the time it has taken to consider the reporter’s report on the listed building status of the Odeon Cinema in Clerk Street in Edinburgh and when it will announce its decision."
Answered by Stewart Stevenson
"Due to the complex nature of the issues involved which require very careful consideration it has not been possible to reach a decision within the three month target period.
Whilst any delay in dealing with this cases is regretted it is not possible to say, at this stage, when a final decision will be made."
Peter Stubbs: April 15, 2010
Thank you to Tom Pate who wrote about the campaign to save 'The Odeon'.
"Yes, the campaign is very much alive and kicking. I am one of the organisers."
Tom Pate: April 15, 2010
Thank you also to Simon Howarth for for writing again to give me the web site address of the site that includes the petition to save the Odeon.
Acknowledgement: Simon Howarth: April 21, 2010
Update: February 2011
Thank you to Bill Brady for passing on a message from Karen Sherwood, appealing for people to help by signing a petition to save the Odeon Cinema.
Karen's message began:
"Veteran Edinburghers will remember this beautiful building as the old Odeon Cinema and may even have fond memories of cheap Thursday tickets (£2- if you can believe it!).
It has been years and years since the building has been in use and has sat, wasting away. Unfortunately, as many of the community believed would eventually happen, the powers-that-be-The-Edinburgh-Council, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to demolish a building of cultural and historical significance and replace it with...a hotel (ta dum) ..."
Dr Karen Sherwood, University of Edinburgh
Bill Brady added:
"I don't know why the council don't buy the Odeon and convert it into a live entertainment venue, and get rid of the awful Queens Hall."
Bill Brady: February 25, 2011