Grainger Cinema

26-28 Grainger Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd.

Firms: Percy Lindsay Browne & Glover

Functions: Retail

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Grainger Picture House, Grainger News Theatre

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Grainger Cinema

Located in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England, the Grainger Picture House, a conversion of the city centre Millings the drapers store. The Grainger Picture House opened on 1st December 1913. Designed by architectural firm Percy Lindsay Browne & Glover, the narrow entrance led to an auditorium parallel to the street. There was a café, which had an independent street entrance. The auditorium was in Neo-Classical style, the ceiling pierced by three domes. The walls were decorated by massive columns and figures. The proscenium arch was flanked by four columns surmounted by a group of sculpture. Seating was for 775 patrons: 566 in the stalls and 209 in the balcony.

In 1925 the cinema was purchased by Bernicia Ltd, a company controlled by George Black. Sound arrived on 30th December 1929 with “White Cargo” starring Leslie Faber and Maurice Evans. Soon afterwards the Grainger Picture House was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC). It was closed in July 1937.

It underwent an expenditure of about £10,000 and refurbishment in an Art Deco style to the plans of architectural firm Marshall and Tweedy of Newcastle, with new interior decorations by interior designer R.W. Smiles of Newcastle. The entrance was refaced in rough-cast pink glass with stainless steel straps. It had a new canopy in coloured glass and neon with the name News Theatre above. The paybox was brought out to street level. Inside the auditorium there were 16ft high vertical light fitting on the side walls and concealed lighting troughs in the ceiling. It reopened on 2nd December 1937 as the Grainger News Theatre. Now part of the McHarg circuit, with seating slightly reduced to 733 (515 in the stalls and 218 in the balcony). But this only lasted until 26th March 1938, and two days later the Grainger Cinema reverted to a regular cinema programme, beginning with Deanna Durbin in “Three Smart Girls”. “Genevieve” starring Kenneth More, played for seventeen weeks in 1953.

In January 1960 closure was announced when Dunn’s, hatters and outfitters, who occupied the premises next door, wished to expand. The Grainger Cinema closed on 26th March 1960, the final film being “Expresso Bongo” starring Cliff Richard. In October 1998 the cinema area was still in use as a retail outlet.

Contributed by David Simpson

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Mike_Blakemore on January 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm

The Entrance of the Grainger Cinema was to the right of The FAS Stores..

terry on September 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm

2 photos uploaded to the relevant section.

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