Urban Explorers Rediscover the Abandoned Auditorium of Todmorden’s New Olympia Cinema

new-olympia-cinema-todmorden-abandoned (Image: Tim Green, cc-4.0)

Behind this elegant Art Deco facade, the abandoned auditorium of Todmorden’s long shuttered New Olympia Cinema has sat in silence for decades, hidden away from public view behind the false walls and ceilings of a budget supermarket that until recently occupied the former lobby and lower seating area.

But when urban explorers gained access to the abandoned West Yorkshire building’s upper balcony, they captured these haunting imagesĀ of what is unmistakably the decaying remains of a forgotten picture house.

new-olympia-cinema-todmorden-abandoned-2 (All images (unless stated) by Ojay via 28DL, reproduced with permission)

Opened in 1932 to replace Todmorden’s original Olympia Cinema – first built as an ice skating rink in 1909 – the New Olympia was a classic example of British Art Deco picture house design.

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Boasting a central location, full stage and larger seating capacity than Todmorden’s other theatres, the venue, designed by Burnley architects Aspen & Johnson, soon earned a reputation as the ‘best’ in town.

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But by 1955 it had been taken over by the Leeds-based Star Cinema chain and limped on for 11 more years until the film reel stopped turning in 1966, mirroring the general decline of single-screen cinemas in the UK.

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The New Olympia was used as a Star Bingo club for several years before its elegant Art Deco interior was ripped out to make way for a Kwik Save supermarket. Little did shoppers realise, as they collected their weekly groceries, that the space above their heads was presided over by the ghostly cinema that had entertained Todmorden’s residents for decades.

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Derelict since 2007, the abandoned cinema now faces demolition, though locals are campaigning to save its elegant facade as an important reminder of their town’s heritage. Though the future looks bleak for Todmorden’s New Olympia Cinema, and other nearby venues like the Gem Cinema have long been demolished, the town’s 500-seat Hippodrome Theatre continues to entertain packed houses to this day.

Keep reading – explore 29 Abandoned Theatres, Cinemas, Ballrooms & Music Halls

 
 


 
 
 

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