Spanish City Picture House
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Located in the Tyneside holiday resort of Whitley Bay, to the north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Originally built as an aquarium in 1910 as part of the Spanish City Pleasure Garden complex. The building was converted into the Picture House by architect J.A, Coulson, and was opened on 10th August 1916 with “The Scarlet Sin”. The entrance was through a shop unit, close to the Salt Water Baths Pavilion, with the auditorium built behind.
In the early-1930’s, the Picture House was equipped with a British Thomson Houston(BTH) sound system, and it was taken over by the Stanley Rogers Cinemas Ltd. circuit. By the end of the 1930’s the E.J. Hinge Circuit had taken over Stanley Rogers Cinemas. It was closed at the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, and remained closed until late-1942. It re-opened under the Mark’s Circuit Cinemas of Manchester. Taken over by the Newcastle based Essoldo circuit in May 1949, they widened the entrance to include the adjacent shop unit.
The Picture House was equipped to screen CinemaScope films in the mid-1950’s. It closed for redecoration in March 1962, and it re-opened on 3rd June 1962 with “The Spartans”. However, it had only a short time to run, as it closed for the winter in October 1962, re-opening in spring of 1963 and finally closing on 28th September 1963 (when the lease expired). It was used as a bingo club from August 1964, and was later converted into an amusement arcade in 1965. This had closed by 2006 and the building was demolished during the renovation of the remaining Spanish City buildings.
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