Empress Cinema

130 High Street,
Gateshead, NE8 1FU

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Additional Info

Architects: L.H. Armour

Previous Names: Empress Electric Theatre

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Empress Cinema

In Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, the Empress Electric Theatre opened in 1910. It was owned by the Bolam family, but seems to have been informally known as ‘Lloyd’s Electric Theatre’, after a character with the unflattering nickname of ‘Loopy’ Lloyd, who could well have been the manager.

During World War I, the Empress Electric Theatre gave free shows for convalescing soldiers from the town’s Whinney House Hospital. By 1934 it had been equipped with a British Acoustic(BA) sound system. By 1937 that had been replaced by a British Thomson-Houston(BTH) sound system.

In 1948 the cinema was sold to D. B. [Dawe Brothers] Ltd. It was redecorated and given a new lease of life. A Western Electric(WE) sound system had been installed. However, it had always been a rather run-down operation and, in early-1956, the cinema’s licence was not renewed because of fire risk, especially due to its proximity to Brown’s Furniture Factory.

The Empress Cinema closed in April 1956. The building was demolished in November 1964.

Contributed by David Simpson
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