Royal Picture Hall
High Street East and Chestnut Street,
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Architects: Edward Cratney
In Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, the Royal Picture Hall opened in July 1909. Standing at the junction of High Street East and Chestnut Street, it was a conversion of a Methodist church hall to the plans of local architect Edward Cratney. It was approximately 80ft long and 45ft wide. To at least partially disguise the building’s origins, a porch was added, which contained the manager’s office and the paybox, with the projection room above.
The hall could seat 650. There was a small stage, with two particularly tiny dressing rooms either side. The proprietor was Wallsend builder James McHarg.
Presumably the Royal Picture Hall proved successful, because a 133-seat balcony was added in September 1911. At the same time, a small decorative cupola was added to the corner of the building.
A British Talking Pictures(BTP) sound system was installed when the ‘talkies’ arrived. The Royal Picture Theatre was closed in December 1957. In 1960 it was purchased by Newcastle Based building firm John T. Bell and converted into shop units.
Not surprisingly, the whole area around this junction has been redeveloped over the years.
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