Showing 24 comments
My first job was at the Classic as a projectionist on a youth training scheme in 1981/82. I enjoyed my time working there and it had a great atmosphere. I then went on to work in other cinemas until 2013. The Capitol/Classic was built on a site with a steep drop behind the frontage so you entered at front circle level (later cinema 1) and went down stairs to the stalls (later cinemas 2 & 3)
In the 1930s the Wallaw had a Art Deco interior and partial exterior rebuild. Internally this included a new ceiling, proscenium and splay walls. Externally the entrance received new doors, a new canopy and 30s style windows and design. The side wall to the right of the entrance was also modernised. You can see the difference in styles on the above photo. To the left of the 30s style entrance is the original decor.
The Wallaw was demolished in the mid nineties.
Hi Projectionist Byker Odeon. Do you happen to have any photographs of the Odeon.
Demolition is set to start on 1st November 2016.
When the Odeon was tripled in 1975 it was a drop wall conversion. The two mini cinemas (cinema 2 & 3) were in the back stalls with a wall built down from underneath the front of the circle. This left the original circle, front stalls and original proscenium untouched and this became cinema 1.
When the Odeon became four screens the circle was extended forward and a new proscenium was built in front of the old one, this remained as cinema 1. Cinema 4 was what was left of the old front stalls at ground floor level.
In the 60s and 70s the Pavilion was equipped with 70mm Vic 10 projectors and stereo surround sound. The projection room was now at the back of the circle. In 1975 Not long before it closed the Pavilion had the uk premiere of the film “Slade in Flame” with the group Slade present at the premiere. I remember watching a few Bond films at the Pavilion when I was a child and queuing along Westgate Road to get in. I distinctly remember the orangey coloured seats.
The front stalls and stage area were demolished some years ago and what remains is the circle and back stalla area.
From 1999 to 2006 the Plaza was a Saturday night rave night club called The New Monkey. It was very popular and was the last all night rave club in the north east of england. The building is now used as a church.
The John Alexander roman centurion splay wall panels in the Forum Hexham pre date those in the Regal. The Forum was built in 1937 and the stalls are now a Wetherspoon pub with a cinema in the circle.
John Alexander also used the same design centurion chariot panels at the Rialto cinema in Benwell Newcastle upon Tyne now demolished.
Wetherspoon have absolutely butchered the original interior and virtually nothing remains apart from the foyer ceilings. The entrance foyer walls have been stripped back to bare brick and the art deco staircase up to the circle/balcony has been ripped out. When you see the ceilings they have retained you can imagine how impressive it would’ve been if they had retained the rest of the original decor. The pub only uses the ground floor leaving the balcony and original art deco ceiling unused and sealed off by a false ceiling.The Ritz survived virtually unaltered from 1939 up until 2014 when Wetherspoon acquired and altered it. What a shame the Ritz hadn’t been listed like the ex Wallaw cinema in blyth, designed by the same architects and also now a Wetherspoon. In the case of the Wallaw the majority of the architecture/decor survives and its impressive, thank god it was listed. When you look at the Wallaw you realise how impressive the Ritz could’ve been and what has been lost
I spent many happy hours in the Apollo as a child and teenager and I remember the Apollo before and after tripling. Went to the Saturday morning kids club and remember dancing on the original stage.
I was lucky enough to see behind the scenes several times and after tripling it was still possible to see the original front stalls and proscenium hidden behind the false walls. I went to watch the last film on the last Sunday night before closure for old times sake, a double bill featuring Friday 13th Pt lll with My Bloody Valentine in screen 1.
Ladbrokes operated the bingo in the 1970s then after that it was operated by Tayman leisure who also had the Forum Hexham, Empire Crook and Classic Kells Lane Low Fell. The Tivoli name was reinstated. In 1993 The Tivoli became The Venue nightclub which was a rave club every Saturday night. The Venue club was extremely popular and made a name for its self at the time. Hundreds of people would travel in from outside the area as well as the regular locals. The Venue suffered an arson attack on Thursday October 24th1995. The fire completely gutted the building and was front page news at the time also appearing on local tv and radio.
Does any one have any interior photos of the Royalty when it first opened or in it’s heyday. I took a lot on the week it closed and on closing night, also when it was derelict and being demolished. It would be nice to see what it looked like when it was new as it was very run down when it closed.
Hi Roboot, yes i did work at the Wallaw, many happy years.
The Regal used to host Sunday night concerts and in the seventies it did several rock/pop concerts including Slade and Whitesnake. The Regal when rebuilt in 1939 by architects Percy L Brown Harding, retained the original Miners Hall auditorium and stage exterior walls with a rebuilt 1930s frontage and interior. The rebuilt auditorium was very similar to the Ritz at Wallsend which was also built in 1939 by Percy L Brown Harding. When the Regal was being demolished you could see the top of the original Miners Hall proscenium and plasterwork. As far as I am aware the Regal did not have an organ, although the Miners Hall may have had one.
I was lucky enough to watch many films here as a child, and thank’s to my parents taking me, i developed a fascination for cinema buildings which has stayed with me. Blacks Regal or the Odeon Byker as I knew it closed when I was a young boy. I remember passing it when it was being boarded up just after closure. Ever since then I always wanted to get Inside to see if it was how I remembered it. I managed to do this in 1979 after seven years of closure. Unfortunately the building was badly vandalised but it still held a fascination for me as I explored every inch of it over a period of years until its demolition In 1987, after being used as a supermarket. I managed to get a lot of photo’s of the interior and exterior from various sources, including from the last manager Bob Spurs. I took a lot of photos of the building derelict and during demolition. I also managed to salvage a few momentos including a copper and glass art deco wall light from the auditorium and poster frames etc. This building was inspirational to me and started my love for cinema buildings. I then made a career out of working in cinemas as a projectionist and later manager thanks to the Odeon Byker and my parents taking me there.
That last name should read John Alexander, he was responsible for a lot of cinema interiors, especially around the north east of england.
I managed to look around the Essoldo just before it’s demolition. I spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon exploring the building. I managed to get a few photo’s but I unfortunately they weren’t that good as I was learning photography at the time. Amazing magical building with fantastic art deco design. The architect was Edwin Lawson who designed the Black’s Regal / Odeon cinemas in Sunderland, Byker, Gateshead and South Shields.I would love to see some interior photos. I have a few exterior photos of the building both open and closed and an artists impression of the interior by John Alwxander who designed the interior scheme.
I was there on the last night.I took a lot of photos before and after closure and during demolition.
the essoldos architect was either william stockdale or edwin lawson.
the empire was still open as a cinema in 1979.
Wallaw theatre/cinema blyth/newcastle upon tyne england for sale or to let.Built 1937 moderne art deco style. Grade 11 listed.Screen 1 balcony/front stalls original proscenium.850 seats.screen 2 right hand back stalls 100 seats.screen three left hand back stalls 100 seats.Many original and fixtures and fittings.I am appealing to any one who could save this rare survivor.I worked at the wallaw from 1984 until its closure last april.i firmly belive it was badly run towards the end and that it could still have a future instead of the bulldozer.Any one interested.
A lot of the information above is incorrect.I worked at the wallaw from august 1984[which is when fergusons transport bought the building]to its closure last year.It was leased to and run by bob milner until 1997.During that time bob built the business up and it was a very well run popular cinema.Bob and myself restored a lot of the decor and fittings and managed to get the building listed.Since bob left i have witnessed the gradual decline until closure last year.their were many reasons which i cant go in to why the cinema ended up closing but im sure it could be restored and reopen once again.It does need someone to spend some money on it but as a keyholder i know the equipment hasn`t been removed.Its all still there.Seats,screens,projectors,etc.There have been two people interested in reopening it as a cinema and someone who wanted to turn it in to a nightclub.Nothing became of any of these proposals and now the building stands decaying.If nothing is done soon it will be to late.The building is for sale or to let if anyones interested.