Tyne and Wear HER(12837): Newcastle, Westgate Road/Clayton Street, Gaumont Cinema - Details
Title of image: New Westgate Cinema, Westgate Road/Clayton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
Description: A 1927 photograph of the exterior of the New Westgate Cinema at the junction of Westgate Road and Clayton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. The cinema has been rebuilt and a notice says that it is due to open on 1 November 1927. Another notice advertises a charity matinee that will take place on Monday 31 October. Tramwires and tramlines can be seen in the foreground. The cinema was previously known as The Picture House (1912-1914) and the Westgate Road Picture House (1914-1927). It was known as the New Westgate from 1927-1937 then the Westgate from 1937-1950 and finally the Gaumont from 1950-1958. The date of the photograph is given as c.1928 but it is actually 1927.
Additional info: Lantern slide
Location/Collection: Newcastle Libraries/Newcastle Local Studies Theatres Collection
Accession number: NCL 044132
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/Clayton Street, Gaumont Cinema
The New Westgate opened on 31 October 1927. The lower storey was in stone with recesses for posters and there was a marble porch. The main staircase was in Roman stone plaster with ebony handrails. On the first floor there was an illuminated fountain (removed by the late 1930s). The parterre was on the first floor with 1200 tip-up seats. Under the balcony there was an illuminated dome. On the third floor was the balcony foyer, decorated in Roman stone and Italian furniture. The circle could seat 700. The cinema décor was Italian Renaissance in style. The proscenium was gilded and had embroidered curtains and pelmet. There were projecting balconies to either side. The projection box is unusually on the roof. This was Newcastle's largest cinema. In February 1928 Gaumont bought the New Westgate for a reported £70,000. Sound was introduced in 1929. In August 1930 the orchestra was replaced by a Wurlitzer organ brought from the Castle Hill Theatre in New York. From April 1941 the Westgate was twinned with the Queen's Cinema in Northumberland Place. It was renamed the Gaumont on 10 July 1950. It closed on 29 November 1958. Rank turned the building into the Majestic Ballroom in February 1959. It later became a bingo hall. Circa 2007 it became a concert hall (Newcastle Academy).
Frank Manders, 1991, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 55-58; Frank Manders, 2005, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 121; Grace McCombie, 2009, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Newcastle and Gateshead, p 180