Friday, 1 July 2011

Art Deco - Redhill Odeon

Today - well actually yesterday I stopped in Redhill, Surrey to see what lasting evidence I could find relating to Art Deco architecture. I picked Redhill town centre for 2 reasons; firstly I knew of at least one iconic deco building and secondly it is the type of town centre that seems to be in a continual state of renewal. So I thought that at some point new buildings would have been put up in the 1920's and 30's. Unlike the nearby town of Reigate which has a core of Georgian frontages or later one trying to look period.

I think the continual renewal of Redhill's town centre has erased most evidence of all periods. The earliest property is probably an 1850's chapel with some grander brick built banks, a pub and shop/office parade from the 1900/10 period. The remainder is from the 1970's to currently being built, even many of the 70's ones have come down. Only time will tell whether any will remain.

Back to the Art Deco.

The first an easily the most memorable building in Redhill is -----

---- the old Odeon cinema, "The Embassy" opposite the station, everyone knows it as you have to stop by it as there is a roundabout next to it. If you were asked to describe an example of British art deco building, this is it. Clean lines, a big bold Cruise Liner look with portholes. It is never going to feature in the worlds top 100 buildings but for Redhill it is as good as it gets. I like the vertical sign to the left.

Built in 1938 for Odeon Cinemas as The Embassy, it was designed by the Scottish architect Andrew Mather (1891-1938). Andrew Mather was a London based architect who specilised in cinema design, mainly for Odeon. Although it is probable that his assistant Thomas Braddock was responsible for the design of the cinemas. 

It recorded that Mather designed at least 44 cinemas during the 1930's including in Lewes, Guildford, Brighton and at least 18 in London; of which only 7 are still open. 

Guildford is to the left.

Redhill Odeon has been a nightclub since the 1970's and I remember (or not quite remember) quite a few times spent dancing the night away followed by a kebab from a van in the car park across the road !! when it was Millionaires and Busby's. Most recently it has been called Liquid and Envy and it closed down last week ! I wonder what will happen to the building. I think it is listed, I hope so.

Redhill's other art deco architecture is scarce. I thought there might be the odd shop front or even door handle but no, the only other building is the old Post Office. A fairly plain well built brick institutional structure with decorative metal grills above the doors. They seem to have an Egyptian influence, a typical art deco source.

NEW Development SEE my latest post.

Internet references;
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