History of Balestra nightclub building in Northampton in pictures

Much excitement has been generated by the news of plans to convert the former Balestra nightclub on the Market Square into a Cosmo Restaurant.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 6:02 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:53 pm
Chicago Rock Cafe

Here we look back at the history of the imposing building from it's beginnings as a corn exchange / music hall to the latest architects' plans.

Constructed originally as a building where farmers could sell corn, the hall was built at a cost of 8,000 and was 59ft high. It was envisaged that concerts would be held in the hall.
Already given over full-time to the showing of films in 1920, it was first renamed the Exchange Cinema and in 1950 became The Gaumont. This photograph of a projectionist was taken in July 1962.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bought by the Rank organisation, the cinema became the Odeon in 1964. This photo was taken in the foyer on August 13, 1966 before Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
It's October 26, 1967 and the Northampton Mayoress, possibly Mrs T H Dockrell, receives toys on behalf of charities in the Odeon Cinema foyer
The Odeon, far left, in a photo from a 1970's Women's Institute postcard.
After a long stint between 1974 and 1997 a Top Rank Bingo Club, it became one of Northampton most loved nightclubs - with an attached restaurant.
Scaled back by its new owners to "lose the super-club feel" only one floor was now open to the public, featuring a 300-capacity bar and a dance floor with space for 400 people.
Despite retaining its popularity, the club closed in 2013 as profits fell. It has remained empty ever since
After being bought in 2014, a planning application almost five years later reveals new plans for a 'world buffet' restaurant.
Architects' drawings as part of the application show three extra floors will be added.
A side elevation clearly shows the scale of the student accommodation, totalling 69 rooms. Hopes are high that the building will soon be as popular as its heyday.