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Built on the site of an earlier Grand Theatre/Grand Circus Hall, this building opened in 1899 as the New Grand Theatre and Opera House. It prospered as a live theatre, but by 1910 it was screening some films and newsreels as a novelty item on the bill. In the 1914 edition of the Kinematograph Yearbook it is listed as a cinema.
By 1925 it had gone back to ‘live’ theatre use and was on the Number 3 touring circuit. It had a 30feet deep stage, the proscenium was 30feet wide and there were 10 dressings rooms. It is listed in the 1937 Kine Yearbook as playing twice nightly, so this could have still been in ‘live’ theatre use. In January 1947 it was taken over by the Essoldo chain of cinemas, but remained in ‘live’ theatre use.
It was converted into a cinema and opened on 28th July 1958 using 800 seats in the orchestra stalls only, leaving the two balconys unused. A projection box had been erected on the stage which produced a rear projection system. The cinema venture was short lived as it was closed on 19th September 1959. It returned to stage theatre use from 21st September until 21st November 1959.
The building was closed until 3rd September 1961 when it re-opened as a bingo club. For a while it was a Top Rank Bingo Club.
The building was given Grade II Listed status in 1994 and was then theatened with demolition. Bingo club operation closed in 1995 and the building now stands empty awaiting a new use. There is a ‘Friends of the Grand Theatre’ organisation who are fighting for its survival.
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