The Pavilion Theatre, Westgate Road, Newcastle
Later - The New Pavilion Theatre
The Pavilion Theatre opened on Monday the 28th of December 1903 and was situated on Westgate Road, Newcastle, close to the earlier and still present Tyne Theatre. The Theatre was designed by the architects Wylson & Long.
The Building News and Engineering Journal carried a report on the new Theatre in their 1st of January 1904 edition saying:- 'The Pavilion Theatre in Westgate-road was opened on Monday. The building has been designed by Messrs. Wylson and Long, of Lyndon, and the contractors are Messrs. Jacob Parkinson and Sons, of Newcastle. The front of the building has been executed in stone and red brick in Free Renaissance. It is some 70ft, in width, and divided into three bays separated by broad pilasters, finished with semicircular arches, that in the centre being deeply recessed and richly ornamented, to form balconies approached from the dress circle and gallery levels, while the side bays are kept more simple in treatment to afford contrast. Extending over the entire front at the first-floor level is a light iron and glass canopy. The centre bay of the front on the ground floor is occupied by the entrance vestibules. The auditorium, which is 55ft. wide between the walls and 50ft. high to the darned ceiling, is divided into three parts - namely, gallery, balcony, and ground floor. The latter consists of stalls, fauteuils, and pit. At the back of the pit is a large saloon lounge. The decorations are in the Renaissance style. The auditorium is covered by a dome, which is divided into panels with ornaments and paintings; the auditorium will seat nearly 2,000 people. The stage is 56ft. wide by 35ft. deep, with a proscenium opening of 29ft. The dressing-rooms, of which there are nine, are contained in a separate block at the rear of the stage on three floors. The whole of the public tiers, staircases, passages, are of fireproof construction, and the stage is cut off from the auditorium by a solid wall carried up above the roof, the proscenium opening being fitted with an asbestos fireproof curtain.' - The Building News and Engineering Journal, 1st January 1904.
The Stage Newspaper also carried a report on the newly opened Pavilion Theatre in their December 31st 1903 edition saying:- 'There was a private view of the New Pavilion Theatre of Varieties, which adjoins the Tyne in Westgate Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne, on Monday afternoon, when the management welcomed a party of visitors, and showed them over the spacious and superbly upholstered and decorate auditorium.
The front of the building is an imposing elevation, executed in free Renaissance in stone and red brick of about seventy feet wide, divided into three bays separated by broad pilasters, and finished with semi-circular arches, the central one being deeply recessed and richly ornamented, forming balconies approached from the dress circle and upper levels. The whole is surmounted appropriately with a bold, well-proportioned pediment. Extending over the entire front at the first floor level, the full width of the pavement, is a graceful light iron and glass canopy, which will be brilliantly illuminated at night. The centre bay on the ground floor is occupied by the entrance vestibule for the stalls and balcony, that on the left being the pit entrance, and that on the right being used for pit and gallery exits, while the entrance to the last named is in a side street.
The auditorium is spacious, being fifty-five feet wide between the walls and fifty feet high to the domed ceiling, and is divided into three parts - gallery, balcony, and ground floor. The last consists of stalls, fauteuils, and pit, arranged on an ample slope to afford an excellent view of the stage. At the back of the pit, but divided from it by a glazed screen, is a large saloon lounge, entered through swing doors. The stalls are reached by a corridor on the prompt side, and have an additional exit into the side street. The left-hand staircase from the vestibule gives direct access through a small anteroom to the balcony. The auditorium is crowned by a dome divided into beautifully painted panels, and the decorations are in the Renaissance style, with elaborate colouring and gilding, which, with the handsome and costly upholstering, combine to give an effect of the most brilliant and artistic description when the house is lighted up by the handsome eleotroliers.
The theatre is well equipped with cloak-rooms, etc. and no pains have been spared for the comfort and convenience of its patrons. The stage is fifty-six feet wide and thirty-five feet deep, the proscenium having an opening of twenty-nine foot, so that it will be seen there is plenty of space for the most elaborate productions. There are nine dressing-rooms at the back of the stage, and these again are well equipped for the exigencies of the artiste, being heated and supplied with hot water.
An asbestos fireproof curtain divides the stage from the auditorium. Messrs. Wylson and Long are the architects, and the following firms have been engaged in the construction of the theatre:- Messrs. Jacob Parkinson and Sons, Limited, Newcastle, contractors; iron construction, marble work, etc, Messrs. J. Tweedle and Co., Newcastle; furniture and upholstery, Messrs. Rolston and Sons, Limited, Newcastle; electric lighting, Messrs. W. Brown and Co., Blackpool; end decorations, Messrs. F. De Jong and Co., London. The directors are Mr. Hugh AstIey (chairman), of the London Pavilion; Mr. Ilford Ibbertson, of the same theatre; Mr. E. J. Wilkinson, Newcastle; and Mr Thomas Barrasford (managing director).
The Pavilion opened on Monday evening on the "two-shows-a-night" system. An efficient orchestra has been engaged, under the direction of Mr. H. Beers, who has already had valuable experience in this line, having been conductor for many years at the Oxford music hall, and also at the Royal, Newcastle, under the management of the late Charles Barnard; and engagements have been entered into with some of the most eminent artists of the variety stage.'
The Theatre was equipped with a projection box for Bioscope Pictures which were sometimes shown during its variety performances. But it went over to full time Cinema use as the New Pavilion Theatre in December 1917 when a new projection box was constructed on the Theatre's stage. In 1919 a Nicholson and Lord Organ was installed. The Theatre was taken over by Denman / Gaumont British Theatres in March 1928.
In 1960 the Theatre was closed for modernisation which spelt the end for the Theatre's original internal decorations. It reopened on the 31st of January 1961. The Theatre was refurbished again in 1968 but was closed in November 1975 by its then owners the Rank Organisation, and remained closed and unused until 1990 when the auditorium was demolished for a proposed apartment building, which would have retained the facade of the Theatre. However, long delays in constructing the apartment building resulted in the facade also eventually being demolished in 1992 and that was the end for the former Pavilion Theatre.
Some of the later information for this Theatre was gleaned from the excellent Cinema Treasures Website.
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