Tyne and Wear HER(12835): Newcastle, Grainger Street West, Nos. 10 - 12, Empire Cinema - Details
Newcastle, Grainger Street West, Nos. 10 - 12, Empire Cinema
Built as a shop (Dunn and Dick, jewellers). Converted into a cinema in 1913 by Moss Empires, who owned the adjacent Empire Theatre (HER 10360) in Newgate Street. It may be unique example of theatre proprietors building a cinema to work alongside the original theatre. The architects were W. and T.R. Milburn of Sunderland and the builder Stephen Easten Ltd. The cinema entrance on Grainger Street West had pillars of Hoptonwood stone and mahagony doors and fittings. The foyer had marble floors and walls. Customers could wander between the cinema and theatre without coming into the street. The cinema could seat 614. It had rose-pink tip-up chairs. The decoration was Adams style. The walls were panelled in mahogany with cedarwood carvings and friezes and tapestries above. The screen was set in a plaster proscenium arch. The cinema was lit by electric and had an Ozonair ventilation system to clear the air. Tilley's ran the tea rooms on the first floor which had a separate entrance on Grainger Street West and was accessible from the theatre. It was decorated in the Treillage style, which was popular in London. On the second floor there was a smoker's lounge and another tea room. Music was provided by the New Empire Cinema Orchestra. In 1927 the Empire was taken over by Favourite Cinemas Ltd and one of the tea rooms became a dance room. Sound arrived in 1930. In October 1931 the cinema was reseated, recarpeted and redecorated. It closed on 11 November 1933. The building became a furniture shop. The site is now the Grainger Street entrance to the Newgate Shopping Centre.
Frank Manders, 1991, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 50-51; Frank Manders, 2005, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 46, 90, 104, 157