Tyne and Wear HER(17628): South Shields, Mile End Road, Queen's Theatre - Details
South Shields, Mile End Road, Queen's Theatre
Music Speech and Dance Venue
Built in 1913 for the Thompson family (JG Thompson and Sons was a local engineering firm). John George Thompson instigated the building and his son, of the same name, owned the theatre throughout its existence. The architects were Gibson and Stienlet of North Shields. The builder was W.T. Weir of Willington-on-Tyne. Originally it was to be called the Borough Theatre, but at the last minute its name was changed to the Queen's Theatre. The Queen's Theatre could seat up to 2400 people. It had a 40 foot square stage that could accommodate large touring shows and show films. The main entrance was marble, with granite columns and a mosaic floor. The staircase to the circle had marble steps and a mahogany handrail. The auditorium was fitted with red plush tip-up chairs. Theatrical entrepreneurs apparently described the Queen's as 'standing alongside the finest and most up-to-date in the country'. The musical director at the Queen's was James Todd. Being a Cinematograph Theatre, films were shown between the music-hall acts. The silent movies were accompanied by music by James Todd and his orchestra. The South Shields Choral Society and the South Shields Amateur Operatic Society performed here (the Queen's was the home of the operatic society from its inception in 1917 until 1940). During WW2 the Queen's Theatre became part of Solly Sheckman's Essoldo Cinema circuit, but this arrangement was short-lived. The Queen's Theatre was destroyed on 9th April 1941 by a German incendiary bomb (6000 bombs were dropped on South Shields that day). A fire station and multi-storey car park was built on the site in the 1960s. Archaeological evaluation trenching in 2018 recorded demolition rubble of the theatre and four courses of a sandstone wall.
Nansi Rosenberg, Prospect Archaeology, 2016, Mile End Road, South Shields - Desk-Based Heritage Assessment; Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd, 2018, Land at Mile End Road, Tyne and Wear - Evaluation Report; http://www.miketodd.net/tree/archives/queens/index.htm