Opened in 1932 to replace Todmorden’s original Olympia Theatre (first built an ice-skating rink in 1909), the New Olympia was a classic example of British Art Deco picture house design. With its central location, full stage and larger seating capacity than Todmorden’s other theatres, the venue soon earned a reputation as ‘the best in town.’
By 1955, it has been taken over by Leeds-based Star Cinema chain and limped on for 11 more years until it closed in 1966, mirroring the general decline for single-screen cinemas in the UK.
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.
Derelict since 2007, the abandoned cinema faces demolition in order to build an ASDA supermarket. I believe it has now been demolished along with Harold Shipman’s Surgery next door (again, can anyone confirm this?).
I believe people have been trying to get in for years to no prevail, so we were lucky that the place was a building site and a shutter had been left open. Again, apologies for the image quality, my camera battery had died.