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Previous Names: Kinemacolour Theatre, Warrior Square Picture Theatre, Strand Cinema
This cinema was high wide and handsome, no upstairs balcony, but magnificent like it was made for CinemaScope (with its 45 feet wide proscenium), but it was actually built in 1909 as a skating rink. In 1911, it opened as a cinema known as the Kinemacolour Theatre. Seating was provided for 1,425 and there were two ways you could enter front and back and I could never work out which was which.
It was re-named Warrior Square Picture Theatre in 1914, then in 1920, it became the Strand Cinema. It was equipped with a pipe organ and a full orchestra. The building was severely damaged by a fire in November 1926, and all that remained was the High Street facade.
It was rebuilt and re-opened on 28th January 1928 with Janet Gaynor in “Seventh Heaven”. It had an enlarged seating capacity for 1,650, and a 16 feet deep stage. A new Kinora 3Manual pipe organ was installed and opened by organist Donovan Ryan. Again there was a full orchestra and the cinema now had a billiard saloon in the building. The facade was a single storey, faced in white tiles, with the builk of the auditorium rising behind. In 1937, it was taken over by Mistlin’s Theatres.
The Essoldo Cinemas chain of Newcastle upon Tyne took it over in June 1955, and fitted it with Cinemascope and steophonic sound, re-opening with Tyrone Power in “Untamed”, in late-June 1955. It was re-named Essoldo in November 1955 and the seating capacity was reduced to 1,550. It retained its organ, which was played regulary into the late-1950’s. The Essoldo was closed on 14th May 1960, and the building was purchased by the adjacent Keddie’s department store. It was demolished and an extension to Keddie’s was built on the site. Today the whole block is now one huge shopping complex.
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