Central Picture Hall
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Previous Names: New Electric Theatre
In Sunderland city centre, there is some debate about when this cinema opened - and, indeed, its name when it opened! In ‘The Dream Palaces of Sunderland’ an opening date of 5th November 1910, for the New Electric Theatre, is given, with the opening attractions being (or, more likely, including) “Percy the Cowboy” and “Pathe Animated Gazette”.
However, a contemporary newspaper cutting in the Cinema Theatre Association Archive, dated a year earlier, 30th December 1909, reports that “The Central Picture Hall, Sunderland, having been acquired by the North of England Animated Picture Company, was formally opened last week by Councillor H. M. Hastings, with an entirely new and up-to-date display of films, together with selections of vocal and instrumental music.” (‘Dream Palaces’ records that Cissy Bold accompanied the films on the piano.) The cutting added that there were two performances nightly and a matinee on Saturday.
Whichever way round the names came, apparently by 1915 it was universally known by its nickname, the ‘Pop In’.
Closure came early, in 1919. The site is occupied by Marks & Spencer store.
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