The famous Odeon cinema in Newcastle Upon Tyne’s city centre is lying in ruins today following a collapse of the building late last night. A bus stop next to the building under demolition since January, was completely crushed.
Amazingly, no-one was hurt in the incident that happened at around 11 pm on Monday, though around 10 people were waiting at nearby bus stops at the time. The police quickly established a cordon at the scene in Pilgrim Street, closing the road to traffic.
A clean up operation took several hours before the road was reopened north-bound early on Tuesday morning. Mangled scaffolding and scattered debris missed bystanders by yards. The collapse was so loud, taxi drivers based around the corner came running to see what had happened.
It seems there was some confusion as to whether or not the building was being demolished. One policeman however, did confirm it was due to come down – but not in that way.
Moments earlier several workmen were seen standing in front of the building looking very animated. Esther Beadle, 28, standing across the road at another bus stop revealed:
“There was a ‘deep rumble’, before what was left of the building and scaffolding slowly collapsed into the street. There was lots of dust flying around as scaffolding poles scattered towards us. The men were stood in the centre of Pilgrim Street and there seemed to be in some sort of disagreement, or at least a heated discussion. Then they left and about three minutes later the building all of a sudden just started to collapse down towards the bus stop. Luckily no rubble made it as far as the pavement on our side, but had it been just a little bit further it would have done. I dread to think what might have happened had things been slightly different. That’s a big worry. Suddenly, there was lots of activity from the workmen who started to swarm towards the building and some started talking on their phones.”
The southbound side of Pilgrim Street was closed to traffic at the time. The cinema last screened a film in 2002 and has stood empty for 14 years. The iconic cinema is being removed after its owners submitted plans to clear the site and transform the area of the city into a retail hub. It seems certain an investigation into the incident will take place as a result of the collapse.