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Re: Gateshead Theatre/Cinema - EMPIRE
The Empire Theater was originally called The Kings Theater. The Odeon opened as The Regal and Dirty Blacks was The Palace. The Palace was Gateshead's first purpose built cinema. Loppy Lloyds real name was The Empress and was an early rear projection cinema.The Scala was originally The Metropole Theater and was huge. It also had an organ which was used to accompany silent films ( my mother's info.) When I first visited this cinema it still had gas lamps - some without mantels - just a bare flame. However, it only cost a tanner to get into the gods which had no seats only large wooden steps. The screen seemed a mile away and was postage stamp size.
Gateshead also had a Theater Royal on West street and a cinema where Tesco is today. This cinema had opened as The Hippodrome but was the scene of a terrible incident when children were crushed to death at a pantomime in the late 1890s The building later became The Queens Cinema and then Woolworths. The whole area is now sadly desolate.
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Recommended Local History websites.
www.oldtyneside.co.uk www.gatesheadeast.co.uk, www.donmouth.co.uk and www.hebburn.org