The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust

 

The Pyramid / Odeon Theatre, Sale, Cheshire.


 

 

"... Undoubtedly the most splendid cinema in Sale was the Pyramid on Washway Road; this was designed by Drury and Gomersall in an "Egyptian" style, hence the name. The Pyramid was built 1933-4 to seat 2,000 at a cost of £70,000. The building included a first-floor cafe advertised as the "rendezvous for discerning folk" and, flanking the cinema, two rows of shops were built in a style which harmonised with the nearby Post Office.

"Once built, the Pyramid then needed a license to open; the magistrates refused this after opposition from, among others, the Palace and Savoy cinemas and the Regal, Altrincham. A protest meeting was organised by a local committee, which included the vicar of St. Paul’s. The meeting was a success, as the Pyramid's 2,000 seating capacity was filled and another 2,000 gathered outside; a petition had attracted 18,000 signatures.


"The result was that a license was then granted and the Pyramid was opened for its first public performance on Monday, February 26, 1934 with a film and stage show. It is a cinema typical of prosperous suburbia of the 1930s and was built with a spacious car park. The Pyramid was bought by Rank in 1941 and, later, became an Odeon cinema. The Odeon showed its last film in October 1981; the cinema was sold and later re-opened as the Tatton, finally closing in 1984."


The frontage, although not particularly Egyptian in overall design, does have various Egyptian style mouldings and fluted pillars. Internally, the Egyptian theme was again largely mouldings and finishes unlike Graumans Egyptian. The theme was included in the specially designed Christie Organ. This organ was purchased by The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust in the early 1980’s and installed in the Blue Coat School in Oldham, where it was used for regular concerts until 2008. The organ is now in storage awaiting a new venue for installation.

In 1981, the Rank organisation closed 29 of its Odeon cinemas and the Tatton Cinemas group bought the lease for the Odeon Sale and it was re-named Tatton Cinema. Stage shows returned to the theatre, however the running costs caused the lease to revert to Rank in 1984 and the building was closed.

Trafford Borough council purchased the cinema for £200,000, but by 1987 the costs to the council were estimated at £1.5 million. A campaign was started to save it from demolition.

In 1988, the theatre was advertised for sale; by tender and by 1990 the cinema was converted into an American themed nightclub, known as JFK's (quite how the Egyptian theme lent itself to this is anyone’s guess!).

The nightclub closed around 2001 and the auditorium has since been transformed into a franchised L.A. Fitness Centre, using a former front stalls exit as its entrance. The main entrance and foyers are currently unused.

The Pyramid Theatre was designated a Grade II Listed building in November 1987.  

Ack. “A History of Sale”, by N.V. Swain.
        D. Alldred

Click for History of the Theatre and The Blue Coat School

Click for The Blue Coat School Installation   

Click for Organ Specification