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Opened as the Londesborough Rooms on the 14th November 1871, a multi-purpose ballroom, concert hall and meeting room, with a flat stalls floor and two balconies with side balconies entending to the raised platform stage and possibly a third flat fronted balcony at the rear.
It was designed by Messrs Stewart & Bury of Scarborough for Mr Waddington, a pianoforte manufacturer who owned an adjacent shop. After only six months extensive alterations took place to remove the platform and build a conventional stage, and to rake the stalls seating. It reopened 13th July 1872 as the Londesborough Theatre.
It was again rebuilt internally in the winter of 1913/14 when Mr Watson of Leeds designed a completely new theatre – only the outer walls survived. This included a projection box and the theatre opened with a film on 11th July 1914, but reverted to stage shows immediately after with a variety show headed by George Formby. In 1925 the last recorded stage performance took place – the musical “The Geisha Girl”, and films took over completely until closure on the 19th September 1959.
By now much of the building was disused – the stage still containing act-drops, the upper levels and bars closed off, and the caverous basement (once advertised as one of only two artificial ice-rinks in Europe) derelict. It had been sold for £27,000 in August 1959 and demolition commenced 3rd June 1960, completed by the end of August.
It was, for much of its later life owned by Londesborough and Capitol Cinemas (Scarborough) Ltd, and run in tandem with the nearly opposite Capitol Cinema. Interior photographs and plans have been frustratingly impossible to locate.
I have just updated Google street view to a rather distorted image under the Grand Hotel. The bricked up arch to wards the left is, I believe, part of the foyer area of the cinema, but the site is now covered by the road which was made a dual carriageway. The auditorium was long and narrow and stretched across to the right of the streetview.
Photos from 2012 – the Memo should make a great place to see a film.
A photo of the facade in 2002:–
Further photos from November 2014 here:–
The Pilot cinema was demolished in the summer of 2014.
Correction to above text – a wall was not dropped to the front of the balcony, a horizontal sub-divison at balcony level took place to create the two cinemas in the original auditorium.
Photos from November 2014:–
Photos of the glorious Tyneside from 2014
Photo from circa 1986
And from 1997
A photo from circa 1986 which appears to show the building unused
Much of the interior remains in the current use as a carpet showroom. Floor levels have been altered but its cinema past is clearly evident.
DARNALL PICTURE PALACE EXTERIOR
DARNALL PICTURE PALACE INTERIOR
A couple of shots of the shuttered building in 1998 after bingo had closed, the building was demolished not too long after. This was a very ornate and attractive theatre in its day, located in the wrong suburb.
MAJESTIC BENWELL – note that the fly-tower has been reduced in height by now.
MAJESTIC BENWELL – The main entrance door were particularly notable, being metal with ornamental lion heads on each.
A slightly more recent photo can be seen here, still recognisably the same building:–
At some point, possibly the conversion to the pub in 1998, the screen end of the auditorium was demolished (if you look at the photo above the building seems to have a very shallow depth).
Photos of the interior taken in 2013
ALEXANDRA PALACE STAGE
ALEXANDRA PALACE AUDITORIUM
As a bingo hall in 1990 :–
Photo’s from March 2014 of the Strand Arts Centre:–
BALCONY SIDE VIEW
STALLS AND STAGE
A later photo from 1978
March 2014 photo of stage from dress circle.
GRAND OPERA HOUSE
Interior shot from 2014 here. The club has very recently changed from Gala ownership to Ritz Bingo.
Demolition plans were approved in December 2013, but as of March 2014 it was still standing:–
Board-up and for sale in 2007:–
A photo of Theatre One in 1995:–
A photo from 1991 when it was known as the Flicks – the Live Alternative:–
A photo from 1990:–