Final curtain for cinema due to Sue and her wrecking ball


For years, Horsham’s Odeon cinema was the place to go to see the latest offerings from Hollywood – until it met its end thanks to a wrecking ball and a woman named Sue.

Something of an unseemly demise for a building which brought the town the likes of Citizen Kane, Rebel Without A Cause and The Godfather.



These pictures were published in the County Times in 1982 and show the demolition of the old cinema which, in its later days, was used as a bingo hall.

The chance to swing the wrecking ball was offered in a competition dreamed up by Horsham Gymnastics Club – but only three people bothered to enter.

Sue Bowden was the winner and, accompanied by her four-year-old son, Mark, headed along to the site to don her hard hat and take the controls of the crane.

The County Times report stated: “Mrs Bowden climbed into the crane’s cab and, after a crash course with the levers from demolition expert Bill Lewis, she scored a direct hit at the first attempt and impressively large chunks of masonry came crashing down to the ground.



“In further sallies, she succeeded in bringing down a lot more wall, the odd door or two and a whopping great water tank.”

And how did Sue feel about her afternoon of destruction? She said: “It was fantastic! I thought of all the people I hate being up on that wall!”

Clearly not a woman to be messed with!

The Odeon was opened on Wednesday October 7 1936 with a showing of Little Lord Fauntleroy, starring Freddie Bartholomew.



It was later sold and, on December 9 1967, was re-named the Classic Cinema.

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