Tyne and Wear HER(12830): Newcastle, Westgate Road, Cannon Cinema (Essoldo) - Details
Title of image: Essoldo Cinema, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne
Description: A view of the auditorium of the Essoldo Cinema, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. The photograph has been taken from the circle looking down to the stalls, the proscenium and the Lafleur organ.
Additional info: Print black and white
Location/Collection: Newcastle Libraries/Newcastle Local Studies Theatres Collection
Accession number: NCL 068713
Provider: Newcastle City Library
Copyright: All rights reserved, if you would like a printed copy of this image please contact Newcastle Libraries.
Newcastle, Westgate Road, Cannon Cinema (Essoldo)
Opened 29 August 1938. Built by Sol Sheckman on the site of the old Westgate Police Station (HER 11966). The architect was William Stockdale of North Shields. It had 2109 seats. The cinema had a steel framework. The Essoldo was described as being 'striking and original'. It used sandstone and brilliant white facings. The name Essoldo was cast in bright blue lettering on the tower and front and side entrances. There was also neon tube decoration. Inside, the foyers and stairways were panelled with Vitrolite glass. The colour scheme was jade and black with engraved mirrors on all walls and pillars. The upstairs foyer was panelled in shades of walnut. The walls and proscenium were lit from behind with soft colours to enhance the plaster mouldings. The projection box contained two Ross projectors. The cinema had the first all-metal screen in the north. The electronic organ was by Lafleur (Hammond) and was in the centre of the orchestra pit on a lift with an illuminated glass surround. The first manager was Hugh le Mounier, an Australian wrestler/strong-man. The first Cinemascope film was shown in June 1954. In 1960 the cinema was reseated, redecorated and a new screen installed. In October 1965 the organ was dismantled and the proscenium rebuilt to take a larger screen with wrap around curtains. The organ lift was used to raise a 'candy and coke bar'. In January 1971 the Essoldo closed for conversion to twin cinemas - the region's first. Essoldo 1 seated 650 and Essoldo 2 seated 390. In 1972 a licensed bar was added and the cinema was bought by Classic. In April 1974 EMI took over the Essoldo and renamed it ABC 1 and 2. In 1986 the Thorn-EMI circuit was taken over by Cannon. In January 1990 the Cannon Cinema closed. It was demolished in 1991.
Frank Manders, 1991, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 39-44; Frank Manders, 2005, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 86-88, 110, 112, 139-140, 152, 154, 158