First a brewery, now a cinema, next a shopping center. This is how the story of the Bradford Odeon cinema goes. But influential British artist David Hockney is looking to change that.
Protesting the demolition of the cinema, previously named the New Victoria Theatre, Hockney isn’t alone when it comes to defending the art deco icon. “So far, 1,000 supporters have signed a petition to turn the cinema into an arts centre dedicated to late DJ John Peel,” ArtInfo reports.
The regal, but dilapidated, Bradford Odeon cinema, designed by Bradford architect William Illingworth in 1930, once hosted performances by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and John Lennon. Closed since 2000, the building now sits shrouded in white plastic and is under threat of demolition by the current owner, the Homes and Communities Agency.
The Respect Member of Parliament for Bradford West, George Galloway, also stands in opposition to plans to knock down the cinema, Richard Waite writes in The Architect’s Journal. Calling on architects, lawyers, and the like, Galloway pledged to try to save and restore the theater during his election campaign. Waite says there are several restoration plans on the boards:
Over the years, a number of practices have drawn up alternative plans for the site overlooking Bradford’s new City Park, which would retain at least part of the building’s fabric, among them Leeds-based SDA Architecture and, more recently, Bradford’s Halliday Clark.
Now the fate of the cinema that once rivaled the grandiose American movie theaters stands in the midst of an ugly legal battle. Whether the citizens of Bradford get a new shopping center or manage to save the iconic building remains to be seen.