Urban explorers return to abandoned Portsmouth cinema to see Screen One – one last time

IT CAN be hard to get the seat you want when you visit the cinema.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 10:49 am
Screen One of the derelict Odeon cinema in North End Picture: Simon Waitland

But a team of urban explorers had their pick at Screen One of the Odeon in North End – as it’s been derelict for more than 10 years. 

The team previously explored the site in London Road in April, but they had been unable to visit the biggest screen.

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Inside North End’s former cinema

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Screen One of the derelict Odeon cinema in North End Picture: Simon Waitland

They were determined to ‘see it one more time,’ as the four-man team have ‘such fond memories’ of visiting the cinema from their childhood, according to urban explorer Simon Waitland. 

He said: ‘We all just remembered how beautiful it is.

‘We have lots of memories and the place was mostly intact – looks like no foot traffic in 10 years.’

With its dark and deteriorated interior, Simon thought the cinema would be the perfect place for a screening of the Netflix show The Haunting of Hill House – ‘it would be a terrifying experience on that big screen,’ he said. 

Screen One of the derelict Odeon cinema in North End Picture: Simon Waitland

The Art-Deco style cinema opened in 1936 and closed in 2008.

The site currently has a Sainsbury's story in the renovated foyer. 

In 2017 a planning application to turn the building into flats was approved, with a revised application for 33 homes at the site being submitted in November 2018. That is still under consideration.

Simon and his friends are already planning their next exploration: ‘We have lots lined up but we are currently trying to find someone to show us around the infamous Burlington bunker.’

Screen One of the derelict Odeon cinema in North End Picture: Simon Waitland

Burlington Bunker is the UK's largest underground bunker, which was built to cope with a potential nuclear attack in the Cold War. It is in Corsham in Wiltshire and is now derelict – for 60 years it was top secret.

 

Picture: Simon Waitland
Screen One of the derelict Odeon cinema in North End Picture: Simon Waitland