14 Union Street,
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Designed by the pre-eminent cinema architecture firm of the northeast of England, Percy Lindsay Browne, Son & Harding, the Wallaw Cinema opened on 16th November 1937 with 1,600 seats.
The plain squat Moderne style facade belies the attractive auditorium within, but its dignified bulk is nevertheless a skilled massing of foyer, auditorium and stage brick blocks dressed with stone.
The wonderful Art Moderne foyer contains its original fittings including metal handrails, balustrades and inlaid doors.
The auditorium was sensitively sub-divided in 1987 with the two small screens hidden beneath the balcony. These are comfortable but undistinguished.
The main screen however was a delight with all original fittings, covered lighting in full working order, decorative plasterwork and wood facings to walls intact, etc.
The Wallaw Cinema was refurbished and redecorated in 1998 and it was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage.
The cinema closed in 2004, with “The Passion of the Christ” the last film screened. The building lay empty and unused for several years. It was purchased by the J.D. Wetherspoon chain of pubs, and after renovation is due to open in December 2013.
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