Essoldo Middlesbrough

Sussex Street,
Middlesbrough, TS2

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Viewing: Photo | Street View

The first Theatre Royal was opened in 1866, and was designed by a Mr. Blessy and fronted onto Albert Street. Noted theatre architect Frank Matcham made some alterations in 1890.

In 1900, a second Theatre Royal was built within the walls of the first theatre, with the entire interior reversed, the entrance was now on Sussex Street. It was designed by the architectural firm Hope & Maxwell, and opened on 24th December 1900 with the pantomime “Aladdin”. Seating was provided in pit, orchestra stalls, dress circle and gallery, with boxes on each side of the proscenium. The ceiling had paintings of flowers. There was standing room for 550. The stage was 40 feet deep and there were ten dressing rooms. At the end of 1914, it had been re-named Royal Cinema, but the theatre went back to live theatre use and reverted back to the Theatre Royal name

Taken over from Thomas Thompson by the Denman/Gaumont British Theatres chain in March 1928, it began cinema use. However, it was taken over by an independent operator on 24th November 1930 and again re-named Royal Cinema. Then in 1932, Sol Sheckman’s S.S. Blyth Kinemas Ltd. chain took over operations, and continued with a mix of cinema and live theatre use. This chain was later merged with the Essoldo Cinemas chain, and the Royal Cinema was re-named Essoldo from 24th April 1953, following the installation of CinemaScope.

The Essoldo was closed as a cinema on 17th July 1961. It was re-opened as a cinema again on 31st December 1961, and closed on 30th June 1962. It was converted into a bingo club and was closed and demolished in 1978. Housing was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

JohnnyBluenose
JohnnyBluenose on March 13, 2017 at 11:44 am

From 3 years old I went to this Essoldo cinema. I lived across the road at my granny’s house known as Vinny Verrills Fishmongers shop. Cursons the sweet shop was directly across the road from the Theatre, pronunciation ending in “ayter” Cursons made the majority of the myriad of different confections in their own shop. The sweet smell in there was heavenly. A big bag of sweets if you’re flush or a “twist” in a paper cone if you weren’t. Gas lighting in the form of decorative torches lit up the whitewashed corridors inside the Theatre. It had the Stalls below, then the Gallery upstairs and way up top was the “Gods"after climbing up a steep wooden staircase. Some people called the "Gods” the fleapit. It was cheap. Midway through the Saturday morning matinee for kids, a compere mounted the stage and run competitions for small prizes, such as yoyo’s and toy whistles. A mirror reflecting the spotlight on the compere shone a beam of light in the audience that would settle on the lucky kid chosen to come on stage to win a toy. The cowboy flicks with their popular chases in the end sent the whole cinema into deafening crescendo’s of boo’s and ‘rays accompanied by foot-stamping that nearly brought the old place down. Happy Memories.

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