Albert Hall

Beamish Street,
Stanley, DH9 8BJ

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In Stanley, County Durham, it is not known when the Albert Hall was built (though presumably in Victorian times, commemorating the late Prince Consort) but it did receive a Cinematograph Licence around 1912 (it is listed in the 1914 Kinematograph Year Book). The Albert Hall Cinema was operated by Randell Williams. There were 630 seats, a 24ft wide proscenium, a 20ft deep stage and two dressing rooms.

The Cinematograph licence granted to the Albert Hall in 1915 noted a seating capacity of 803, but it is not known how this (apparently) increased capacity had been achieved.

After 1914, the next Kinematograph Year Book I have access to is for 1923. The Albert Hall does not feature in that, nor, so far as I am aware, any further editions. So it is assumed this was an early casualty.

However, the booklet ‘Ninety Years of Cinema in County Durham’ maintains that the Cinematograph Licence was renewed annually until as recently as 1965.

And, when the building was being demolished, in August 1979, it was reported that the new development would “occupy the whole of the site of the old Albert cinema”. So the cinema was still fresh in the reporter’s mind. So perhaps, at the least, some part-time film shows were being presented over the years.

In 1982, Anchor Housing Association built a retirement housing complex, Beamish Court, on the site.

Contributed by David Simpson
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