Tyne and Wear HER(12840): Newcastle, Grainger Street, Grainger Cinema - Details
Newcastle, Grainger Street, Grainger Cinema
Opened 1 December 1913. Built by a company controlled by Joseph R. Collins. Converted into a cinema from Millings the drapers. The narrow entrance led to an auditorium parallel to the street. The imposing entrance was flanked by granite columns which led to a marble-lined vestibule. The stairs and passages were of marble with mahogany panelling and led to the circle and to a café which also had an entrance on the street. The auditorium was Neo-Classical style, by Percy L. Browne and Glover. The ceiling was pierced by three domes. The walls were decorated by massive columns and figures. The proscenium arch was flanked by four columns and surmounted by a group of sculpture. This cinema claimed to have used only Newcastle contractors. There were 775 seats. In 1925 the Grainger was bought by Bernicia Ltd, controlled by George Black. Sound was introduced in December 1929. The Grainger became an ABC cinema. It closed in July 1937. After refurbishment, it reopened on 2 December 1937 as the Grainger News Theatre, part of the MacHarg circuit. It was reconstructed to designs by Marshall and Tweedy. The entrance was re-faced in rough-cast pink glass with stainless steel straps. It had a new canopy in coloured glass and neon with 'News Theatre' above. The paybox was brought out to street level. Inside there were 16 feet high vertical light fittings on the side walls and concealed lighting above the proscenium in amber, cream and red. The overall colour scheme of the interior were pastel beige, orange, cream, red and gilt. The new seats were scarlet and grey with matching carpet. The News Theatre showed travelogues, newsreels and cartoons. On 28 March 1938 the Grainger reverted to a normal cinema. The cinema closed in March 1960 as Dunn's (hatters and outfitters) who occupied the premises next door wished to expand. The Grainger Street entrance is now unrecognisable due to shop frontages. Presumably all of the interior has gone.
Frank Manders, 1991, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 65-68; Frank Manders, 2005, Cinemas of Newcastle, pages 49-50, 103, 104, 116, 150, 151, 158