Star Picture Hall

Station Road,
Boldon Colliery, NE35 9HP

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Boldon Colliery is a small town in the north-east of England, situated to the north of Sunderland and south of Jarrow and South Shields.

Information about the Star Picture Hall is rather sparse. It was licensed for cinematograph shows from 6th February 1912 until 7th February 1923, so it is assumed it only operated for this period in time. It was operated by Reggie Hepple, the manager was Vincent Paddon and the pianist was Miss Darling.

This relatively short life might be because it has been described as a “quaint [basic?] building with a galvanised roof which inevitably gave natural sound effects when it rained”. No doubt for this reason it was known locally as ‘Tinnies’!

And please note that, although I have given the Star Picture Hall’s address as Station Road, this might not have been its correct location. According to ‘The Cinemas of South Tyneside’, it was situated “at the side of the colliery, on the private road leading to Brockley Whins Station”. Opened in 1839, Brockley Whins is now part of the Tyne and Wear Metro network, and is accessed by Station Road, obviously a public highway. So the road layout in that area might well have been altered over the years.

If one assumes that film shows ceased in February 1923 (and the Star Picture Hall is not listed in the 1927 Kinematograph Year Book) then the building might well have lain disused for a number of years as, on 23rd March 1932, trade magazine Bioscope reported that it was to be demolished “to make way for a larger cinema constructed on modern lines”.

In the event, whether demolition went ahead then or, it is assumed, later, the promised new cinema did not materialise. The existing Electric Palace continued until 1959, but filmgoers had a long wait, until 1997, before Virgin opened its “larger cinema constructed on modern lines”! (See separate Cinema Treasures entries.)

Contributed by David Simpson
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