This morning I almost managed to get to work without taking a photo. But not quite. I spotted this. The Odeon’s roof was dangling above Manchester and Tuam Streets.
The Odeon has an interesting history. It was originally the Tuam Street public hall, designed in the early 1880s by T.S. Lambert (d. 1915) and opened on 20 July 1883. It seated 2,200 including a gallery seating 600. It became the Opera House in July 1894.
Benjamin Fuller (1875-1952) moved in on 19 February 1903, presenting vaudeville. John Fuller and Sons bought the theatre in 1904. In 1927 E.S. Luttrell (1872-1932) reshaped the interior and the New Opera House opened on 26 December. There were 19 dressing rooms.
It became a movie theatre in 1930 and was renamed the St James, managed by Kerridge-Odeon. The stage was retained and the building was used occasionally for live entertainment. On 29 September 1960 it became the Odeon. It had been extensively altered and seated 720. 600 stalls made way for a coffee lounge. Fullers finally sold the building to Kerridge-Odeon in November 1978.
Christchurch Assembly of God bought the building in 1985 and re-opened it in October 1985 as their place of worship. In November 2003 it was sold to a group of Christchurch business people. In late 2006 the theatre was bought by Dave Henderson, a local property developer, for $1.335m. First mortgagee Allied Nationwide Finance ordered its sale in late 2009.
Read more about the Odeon on the wonderful Canterbury Film Society website.