A LOCAL historian and Odeon expert has revealed how the 1930s building has “form” when it comes to delays.

Mark Nicholson has spoken of how the New Victoria had been due to open in Autumn 1929 but it actually opened a year later due to a delay.

He added that when the building, then known as The Gaumont, closed down to be converted into the twin cinema and bingo hall – there was a two month delay until the Odeon opened – and a further two months before it was open to bingo players.

Mr Nicholson spoke out after the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed that Bradford Live’s multi-million project to transform the old Odeon building into a live music venue has hit a delay.

Earlier this week, the T&A reported how extra work had been uncovered in the bid to bring the building up to scratch – and that this meant adding an extra year to the project.

The estimated opening date is now autumn 2023.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Live's transformation of the Odeon, pictured in November 2021Bradford Live's transformation of the Odeon, pictured in November 2021

Mr Nicholson said: “The former Odeon building certainly has ‘form’ in terms of past opening dates being pushed back. It first happened nearly a hundred years ago!

“When it was announced in the local press in May 1928 that The Old Brewery would be replaced by a super-cinema, an opening date of Autumn 1929 was spoken of.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The original notice that the New Victoria was due to open in August 1930The original notice that the New Victoria was due to open in August 1930

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An August 1969 notice for the twin Odeon cinemasAn August 1969 notice for the twin Odeon cinemas

“However, the actual construction didn't start until the Spring of 1929. This was initially due to the first set of blueprints dated October 1928 being disapproved. The Corporation's planning department had misgivings about how the theatre intended to accommodate the fact that Bradford Beck flowed beneath the very rear of the stage area.”

He added: “The Cinema Industry announced in June 1930 that the New Victoria was ready to open on Monday 18th August 1930... but there was a further delay and the cinema actually opened on Monday 22nd September, five weeks later than the announced date.”

He went on to explain: “The Gaumont closed in November 1968 for a planned seven month period in which the auditorium was to be sub-divided three ways into twin cinemas and a bingo hall.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The auditorium filled with scaffoldingThe auditorium filled with scaffolding

“However, the conversion actually took nine months, and even then only the twin Odeon cinemas were ready to open at the end of August 1969.”

Mr Nicholson added: “While the latest delay will be frustrating for Bradford Live - and disappointing for the rest of us - you can't help but feel that this unique building seems to have a long-standing penchant for keeping folk waiting!”

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