Adelaide Picture Hall

385 Elswick Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 8DY

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Union Cinema Co. Ltd.

Architects: Charles S. Errington

Functions: Café, Retail

Nearby Theaters

Adelaide Picture Hall

The Adelaide Picture Hall, on Adelaide Terrace (part of Elswick Road) on the corner of Maria Street, was built in 1910 by W.H. Rewcastle, a fishmonger, and opened on 17th October 1910. It was Benwell’s first cinema and had 640 seats.

It was sold to Charles Faith in 1919; and a two storey stone-faced annex was built to the right of the hall to form a foyer with offices above.

In April 1928 Faith sold the cinema to two London cinema owners for around £10,000. The Adelaide Picture Hall was the third Newcastle cinema to introduce sound.

In 1931 Union Cinemas took ownership under the name of Benwell Cinemas Ltd. By this time the Adelaide Picture Hall was in competition with the Majestic Cinema (owned by the same company) and the Grand Cinema Palace.

Reportedly, the Adelaide Picture Hall closed on 1st February 1943 (see later). It was used as a depot by Pathé; became a Woolworth’s store; and became an auto-parts shop (in the 1910 auditorium) and café (in the 1919 annex). By 2022 it was a Shisha café named Ahura Lounge in the former auditorium and a cannabis ‘head’ shop in the annex.

The Kinematograph Year Book 1914 lists the Adelaide Picture Hall: 640 seats; W.H. Rewcastle prop.

KYB 1928 lists Adelaide Picture Hall 385 Elswick Road; prop. Chas Faith of Northbank, Otterburn Villas, Newcastle. Interestingly, the films are “Booked at hall by I. Faith”: a family-run business?

KYB 1931 indicates Western Electric(WE) sound and ownership by the Benwell Theatre Co. Ltd. of 167/9 Wardour Street, London W1.

KYB 1935 list the cinema as “Controlled by Union Cinema Co. Ltd. 167/9 Wardour Street, London W1”.

KYB 1937 and 1942 show the owners as Union Cinemas Ltd, Union House, 15 Regent Street, London SW1.

In KYB 1945 the legal owners are Union Cinemas but management is by Associated British Cinemas Ltd, 30/31 Golden Square, London W1.

KYB 1947 repeats the earlier information and adds that there are 624 seats. So, closure in 1943, mentioned in various sources (though originating with one?) is probably wrong.

However, KYB 1950 has no entry for the Adelaide Picture Hall, the name the cinema retained all its trading life.

Contributed by H J Hill

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Ian on June 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

A slightly more recent photo can be seen here, still recognisably the same building:–


Jake Bottero
Jake Bottero on December 14, 2022 at 12:32 pm

The larger peaked roof structure is a “lounge”, the building next to it is a cannabis “head shop”.

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