Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema Set For £3m Restoration

By Graham Spicer | 20 December 2005
Shows a photo of an art deco building with a neon sign on it reading Tyneside Cinema

The Tyneside is a much-loved local landmark. Courtesy Tyneside Cinema

Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema looks set to be restored to its former glory thanks to a £3 million grant.

The Tyneside is one of the finest surviving purpose-built newsreel cinemas in the UK and still operates as a cinema. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant will help to return the local landmark to how it looked in its 1930s heyday and will let the public view archive newsreels not seen since the 1960s.

“The Tyneside Cinema’s Picture Palace Project takes you back to an era when cinema stood alongside newspapers and radio as a vital source of news and entertainment, particularly during the war,” said HLF Director Carole Souter.

“This project will restore an iconic Art Deco building and offer people an insight into the 1930s and 40s,” she added.

The Tyneside Cinema has been awarded a ‘stage-one pass’, which indicates positive support from the HLF. This gives the cinema funding to submit a further proposal to secure the ‘stage-two pass’ and full funding.

Shows an archive black and white photo of an elaborate art decor cinema foyer

The cinema's elaborate foyer will be restored to its 1930s glory. Courtesy Tyneside Cinema

Built in 1937 the cinema was elaborately designed by local architect George Bell, becoming home of the Tyneside Film Society the same year, which was to become the largest UK film society outside London.

Along with the restoration project an extension will be created to help train new filmmakers. A wide-ranging education programme will also be launched, which will examine Tyneside’s industrial heritage and the role of the cinema in news reporting and include activities for young children.

Mark Dobson, Chief Executive of the Tyneside Film Theatre Trust, explained the importance of the project: “We are thrilled that we will be to restore this unique piece of British heritage and at the same time expand and extend the building so that we engage ever more people with independent films from across the world.”

In addition to the £3 million HLF funding a further £500,000 grant has been awarded by the Northern Rock Foundation to make the project possible.

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