Monday, 11 October 2010

St Albans Odyssey & Melbourne-Cooper

Thanks again to Tjitte de Vries for this interesting photo - Arthur Melbourne-Cooper with local eminences actually in the foyer of the old Odeon at an exhibition in the 1950's to celebrate his work. It would be nice to see this happen again - another exhibition of course - no chance of getting Arthur though I'm sure his presence will be there somehow.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

St Albans Odyssey back story

As you can see all done in 24 hours - looks like a building site now. Somehow when you walk past one of these, even though it's only chipboard, white paint and safety notices, you know people are serious about what they are doing. Gives the Odeon an air of moving on. The second pic shows in the distance that the Virginia Creeper which embellishes the south side of the building is still going strong. I hope that it and the ivy survive the updating - must provide homes for so many moths/beetles/ bugs. This bit of St Albans needs to hang on to every bit of bio-diversity it has. Most of it's gone. We used to have a colony of pretty frogs at the other end of Lower Paxton Rd but they disappeared when the old dairy was converted into housing ( which the frogs warned us about, of course...).

And while we're on the topic of temporary additions what about the lean-to along the side of the building - top pic gives view of its front. It's quite a big space inside. Mick and Darren have been trying to work out what it was used for. One guess is it provided a space for patrons' bikes/motorbikes? Maybe somebody out there remembers?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Odyssey cinema - extension at back

Pic of MIck and Darren chatting to a local resident as they work on a new extension at the rear. This will make back of site safer and neater...but local mousers will find entry to their hunting patch blocked. Almost runover by a reversing Oveolia waste wagon as I took's usually the plumbers' merchant's lorries you have to look out for down here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Clearance continues

Some pics of the work today - lots of radio/whistling/thuds of rubble and planks being heaved around.....this is all hard hats and face masks stuff so I stayed outside. But last week as I was going to the station saw Mick making the morning coffees on the table by the front doors and he showed me round to admire the completely clear foyer. It's now possible to get a sense of what it was like to walk in in the heyday of the Capitol.

And there's the original booking office hatch, and the manager's cosy office and the huge business like safe for the takings. Easy to imagine what it was like in there on a dark rainy St Albans Sunday afternoon in, say, 1942 - the sound of the film sound track in the background, the sturdy radiators chugging out heat, the manager and his staff all smoking like chimneys, tea and chocolate biscuits (or were they rationed?) And while we can imagine them they would never have imagined us doing this. In their darker moments they might have thought the cinema would still be here but showing films with German stars & Wagnerian sound tracks...

It's so atmospheric even in this raw state. Maybe particularly in this state. Maybe when we have the glossy new wonderful Odyssey we will lose touch with the old warhorse of a cinema we are so close to at the moment....