Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Ciy Centre Cinema for Leicester

After a wait of several years, there is now a mainstream cinema in Leicester City Centre.

In the mid 90s, the Rank Organisation opened a multiplex Odeon Cinema at the old Cattle Market, renamed Freemans Common.

Many people, including councillors, whose words were in other respects worthy of respect, assured the public that this was a City Centre site. It is not, and never has been, a City Centre site.

Within weeks, the two actual City Centre cinemas closed, unsurprisingly of course. The Odeon was one, and the former ABC in Belgrave Gate, by this time Cannon, was the other. They were both, right up to the end, very nice cinemas.

The old Odeon has been converted into a stage venue, very well by all accounts, under the name Athena. The Cannon, meanwhile, remains closed, beloved of nobody except gangs of pigeons, both alive and dead. It is the most depressing part of a historic but now horribly dowdy street.

All this time, the former Star Cinema in Abbey Street, near St. Margarets Bus Station, remained open, but showing Bollywood films, which obviously have a market in multi-cultural Leicester.

But in December, this reopened as the City Cinema, showing mainstream films just as if it were a High Street Odeon.

I understand that the City Cinema is managed by the former Manager of the ABC. As a long-standing former cinema manager myself, I am very pleased with this move and wish the venture every success.