Essoldo Bishop Auckland
27 Railway Street,
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The Hippodrome Theatre opened in December 1909. Designed by Darlington architect J.J. Taylor, with George W. Ward of the architectural firm Owen & Ward. Inside the auditorium there were two balconies and a box on each side of the proscenium. The square proscenium was 24 feet wide, and the stage was 48 feet deep. Films were part of the variety bill from the early days.
In 1920 some alterations were carried out by architect William Stockdale and it became a full time cinema, re-named Hippodrome Picture House. By 1937, it is listed with 900 seats, the upper balcony having been closed off.
It was taken over by the Newcastle based, Essoldo group of cinemas in 1947 and re-named Essoldo. Closed as a cinema in 1966, it was converted into a Lucky Bingo Club, then Ladbokes took over and it became a Lucky 7 Bingo Club. Later operated as a Top Rank Bingo Club, it remains open as an independent Hippodrome Bingo Club. A false ceiling has now been extended across the auditorium beneath the upper circle, so the original paster ceiling and upper parts of the theatre are no longer visible.
It was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage in April 2012.
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