Ritz Cinema

182 High Street,
Tunstall, ST6 5TT

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Ritz Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Staffordshire ‘Potteries’ town of Tunstall. The Ritz Cinema was opened on 10th September 1934 with Joan Crawford in “Dancing Lady” and Jack Hobbs in “Trouble in Store”. It was independently operated by a company headed by Robert Berrasford. The entrance was created in an already existing building on the High Street, with the auditorium built some distance back behind other High Street buildings. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels with decorations in a mix of Chinese/Art Deco styles. The proscenium was 22 feet wide. There was a cafe, a car park and also a bicycle and pram park.

It was taken over by the Southan Morris chain, and then became part of the Essoldo chain from 17th October 1954, and was re-named Essoldo from 3rd March 1957. In 1973, it became part of the Classic Cinemas chain and was re-named Classic, but was closed on 29th June 1974 with “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”. It was taken over by an independent operator and re-opened as the Ritz Cinema, using the circle seating area only. This was not successful and closed on 30th September 1974.

It was converted into a bingo club, becoming a Mecca Bingo Club, then later a Walkers Bingo Club. A false ceiling was inserted extending from the front of the circle to the proscenium, which hid from view the upper parts of the auditorium and made the circle unusable. Walkers Bingo closed in 1991, but it was later reopened under an independent management and is now known as the Ritz Luxury Bingo Club (although the Walkers signage is still on the entrance of the building). In November 2013 it was purchased by a new independent operator and re-opened as the Tower Bingo Club. The false ceiling has been removed allowing a full view of the auditorium one again.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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