Essoldo Chester-le-Street

119 Front Street,
Chester-le-Street, DH3 3BL

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Essoldo Chester Le Street 1960's

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in Chester-le-Street, County Durham on Front Street and King’s Head Yard. The Empire Theatre opened on 12th January 1911. It was built for the Chester-le-Street Theatre Co. It was closed on 8th June 1928 to be re-modelled to the plans of architect Albert H. Fennell and re-opened 20th September 1928. It now contained the Empire Ballroom. It was equipped with a British Acoustic(BA) sound system in 1930. By 1939 it had been taken over by the Smelt’s Theatre chain.

In December 1946 it was taken over by the Essoldo chain and re-named Essoldo. The Essoldo Cinema was closed on 16th January 1971, but the adjoining Empire Ballroom continued to operated. The building was taken over by the Classic Cinemas chain on 2nd April 1972 and they closed the Empire Ballroom. The cinema never re-opened.

The building was demolished in 1979.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

terry
terry on June 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

The Essoldo closed the very same day that the company closed their very large Newcastle upon Tyne theatre for its expensive twinning.

Essoldo intended to open a brand new cinema on part of the site in partnership with one of the large supermarket chains. The proposed 500 seat luxury cinema would have occupied the first floor with the supermarket being at ground level. I do not know what scuppered these plans but they did not materialise.

In common with many cinemas, the Front of House of the Essoldo was some distance away from the theatre itself (and,in this case,the ballroom) with a long walkway leading to the foyer. In 1972 this was demolished leaving the cinema and ballroom visible from Front Street for the very first time.

When Classic Cinemas acquired the Essoldo chain in 1972 the Chester Le Street cinema was part of the deal – as was the Capitol in nearby Low Fell which had been operating as a bingo hall since 1967. Essoldo had intended to twin this venue in a similar manner to Newcastle although Classic went ahead with a triple conversion.

Classic had various plans to reopen the Chester le Street cinema in one form or another but none came to fruition. This was a pity as there was potential for a cinema in the town and the old Essoldo itself was still quite busy at the time of its closure.

terry
terry on June 16, 2016 at 6:47 pm

From the Chester-le-Street Heritage Group :–

http://www.chesterlestreetheritage.org/page26.html

terry
terry on April 21, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Two photos added.

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