Ritz Cinema

95-99 High Street West,
Wallsend, NE28 8JD

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ABC Wallsend

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ritz Cinema opened on 15th May 1939 with Jackie Cooper in “Gangster’s Boy”. Built for the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain, it was designed by the noted firm of Percy L. Browne, Son and Harding who were fairly prolific in cinema design in the north east of England.

It had total seating capacity for 1,636, with 1,092 in the stalls and 544 in the circle. It was in the Art Deco style with sinuous lines of curving plaster and decorative grilles around extraction vents. The proscenium is 40 feet wide and there is a 20 feet deep stage.

The Ritz Cinema closed on the 8th September 1962 with Alan Bates in “A Kind of Loving”. It was converted to bingo club operated by Mecca Bingo. The Mecca Bingo Club was closed on 9th October 2011.

In July 2014 plans were announced that it would be converted in a pub for the J.D. Wetherspoon chain, which was opened on 12th May 2015 as the Ritz. Unfortunately the conversion to a pub has not been kind to the building. J.D. Wetherspoon are usually very good at retaining the historic fabric of their buildings, but in the case of the Ritz, the foyer was demolished to provide an outdoor smoking area and the auditorium has had a false ceiling inserted, which hides most of the original decorative features.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

JohnGn
JohnGn on February 20, 2013 at 2:08 am

I don’t think that it was ever renamed ABC. From it’s press advertising, it would appear to have retained the Ritz name until the end. The last film to be shown was “A Kind of Loving”.

Ian
Ian on February 20, 2013 at 4:22 am

I think you may be right JohnGn – it was referred to as the ABC Ritz, but it closed about the time the circuit was rebranded with the sole ABC name.

geordielad
geordielad on August 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

This is going to be a Wetherspoons Pub. Sadly it was never listed and looking at the proposal I understand the foyer (which has a wonderful ceiling hidden beneath) and ticket office is being demolished to create a open smoking area. I also understand that the fantastic auditorium ceiling is being hidden with a suspended ceiling :( :(

geordielad
geordielad on May 11, 2015 at 12:48 am

Saw the building converted as a pub. Ask the features have been hidden or demolished. Posterior of entrance foyer, inner foyer and circle staircase demolished and no access, New pub is modern box within building. Traffic considering the nearby wallaw approach compared to this. Exterior is better as paint removed and resorted but grills and entrance doors gone now gates and new signage I’d not in keeping with original design

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