Walney Theatre

Natal Road,
Walney Island,
Barrow-in-Furness, LA14

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Located on Walney Island, a district of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. The Walney Theatre and Picture House was sponsored by the Vickers Shipbuilders Company, who were the main employers of the district. It was built as a dual purpose live theatre and cinema and opened on 1st November 1915 with seating for 500, all on a single level. It had a 26 feet wide proscenium, a fly tower and fully equipped stage which was 25 feet deep with six dressing rooms, and a straight organ was installed.

In 1919, the roof was raised and a balcony was added, increasing the seating capacity to 786. It was equipped with a British Thomson-Houston(BTH) sound system and the first ‘talkie’ Janet Gaynor in “Sunny Side Up” was screened on 20th October 1930. By 1934 it had become part of the James Brennan circuit.

The Walney Theatre was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain in August 1936, and they were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in October 1937.

On 20th March 1948, the Walney Theatre was taken over by the Newcastle based Essoldo chain. It was closed on 20th June 1959 with Richard Burton in “The Robe”. By 1964 it had been converted into a supermarket, and the building was demolished in 1983 and housing was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Buffer on July 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

More information provided in “A change of scene:a nostalgic appreciation of Barrow’s theatres and cinemas” by William M Gibbon (1986)

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