Gaumont Whitley Bay

37 Esplanade,
Whitley Bay, NE26 2AL

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Located in Whitley Bay, a seaside town to the north of Newcastle upon Tyne, at the corner of Espanade and Promenade. The Empire Cinema was opened in 1913, and was part of the North of England Cinemas chain.

In 1923, the Empire Cinema was rebuilt to the plans of architectural firm Percy L. Browne & Glover of Newcastle upon Tyne. In March 1928, it was taken over by the Gaumont British Theatres chain. Re-named Gaumont from 28th August 1950, it was taken over by an independent operator on 27th November 1960 (possibly reverting back to the Empire name?). The cinema was closed in 1962.

It was converted into a bingo club, and was later a ballroom then Sylvester’s nightclub. In November 2008, the building stood empty and unused, but was soon demolished.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian
Ian on May 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

The former Gaumont was demolished several years ago, and in June 2009 the site was still vacant.

WHITLEY BAY EMPIRE

JohnGn
JohnGn on February 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

I would query the statement that it was taken over by an independent. Looking through the local newspaper from that time, I can find no evidence that it saw any further use as a cinema after Rank closed it. Latterly, it showed the National release, but subsequently, National releases were spread among the other three cinemas in the town. As a child, I recall seeing the Hammer version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” at this cinema.

Ian
Ian on March 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

Another view of the former Empire here (c1994)

GAUMONT

nic1946
nic1946 on August 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I used to go to this cinema when I lived in the town, it was the first projection box I was shown, amazing!. Memories of this Gaumont are the house lights, no dimmers just switched on or off, the same with the dressing on the tabs, side spotlights on or off. The stage was more of a shelf, very small, scope was as wide as the proscenium and the tabs had wires on the bottom to clear the screen, on some shows the doorman would appear with a long stick and poke them back into the small space provided. Later a festoon was added which I think came from the Gaumont, Newcastle. Top Rank records were played in the intermission and timed to perfection when the feature started. What ever happened to presentation!.

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