Ladbroke Film Centre
Nottingham Road and Meadow Lane,
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Built by independent operators the Eskay Group, this was located in the expanding Derby suburb of Chaddesden, backing on to Chaddesden Park on Nottingham Road, opposite Meadow Lane. It opened as the Gloria Cinema on 21st November 1938 with George Formby in “I See Ice”.
It was a modern Art Deco styled cinema, designed by architect Alfred J. Thraves of Nottingham. The main feature of the exterior was a slim 60 feet tall tower that had the cinemas name at the top. The entire building was outlined in neon strips which shone out at night. Inside the auditorium the decorative features were grilles and decorative plasterwork depicting shells, bullrushes and other plants in an Art Deco style. Lighting was via indirect troughs of hidden lighting across the ceiling.
The cinema had a full size stage that was put to good use during the war years and post war, when Sunday one day Variety shows were held starring ‘big names’ like Jack Warner, Sandy Powell, Wee Georgie Wood, Jimmy James, Vera Lynn and Izzy Bonn. One evening Ted and Barbara Andrews were appearing on stage and introduced their 14 years old daughter Julie to the audience and she entertained them with a song.
In November 1951 the Gloria was taken over by the Essoldo chain and re-named Essoldo Cinema. Sadly they allowed this once beautiful suburban cinema to get very run down. The guttering leaked allowing water to seep into the side walls of the cinema, projection breakdowns occured at almost every performance, the boiler broke so there was no heating in winter. But it had its own loyal, but dwindling followers who would turn up, particulary on Sunday’s when double bills of old 1940’s and 1950’s horror films were screened.
The Essoldo Cinema closed on 14th September 1968 with a screening of Spencer Tracy in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”. The building remained closed and shuttered for six years until it was taken over by an independent bingo club operator and re-opened as the ‘Lucky Seven’ bingo club. Intitially it was a success but eventually patronage waned and it was taken over by the Ladbroke Group and was re-named Gold Mine Bingo Club. Due to lack of maintainance over the years the slender fin tower on the front exterior had to be shortened as pieces of brickwork were beginning to fall off.
The circle area was divided off into two mini-cinemas seating 144 and 138 and re-opened as the Ladbroke Film Centre on 6th December 1974.
They closed on 31st December 1982 with Cloris Leachman in “Herbie Goes Bananas” and Michael Crawford in “Condorman”. Bingo continued in the former stalls area, operating as a Top Rank Bingo Club until it closed on 15th October 2000. The building stood unused, suffering 3 fires in December 2000 and was demolished in March 2001. An Aldi supermarket now stands on the site.
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