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Report - - The Crown Cinema (aka Elite/ABC) - Middlesbrough - Jan 2019 | Theatres and Cinemas |

Report - The Crown Cinema (aka Elite/ABC) - Middlesbrough - Jan 2019

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Got Epic?
Regular User
Sorry for the late post with this one, i was leaving it for @dweeb to do it but hes missed his chance now lol!

Been checking this one regularly for a number of years, i even remember looking at it around 2012 when it was still open as a 'sports bar'. It closed around the same time as the local steel works so it was a good way to kill a bit of time while i was up there for several weekend in a row exploring that. It was always quite tight back then, when we checked it at the end of last year however it seemed alot more derpy, they had even boarded over the official entrance suggesting that it was far form well looked after.. Next trip we found that to be true!

Inside the stalls were pretty stripped, the sports bar bits had been completely ripped out. The basement was flooded knocking any chances of finding epic down there on the head so we headed up to the circle. A few seats were left up there and some odds and ends of old cinema tat laying about caught our interest but it wasn't looking great. Externally the building is pretty special and the circular design was a bit of a feature on the inside as well. The corridors and rooms all seemed to curve and twist around the building, I dont think there was a square room in there when it opened! The circle bar area that once housed a dance floor had sadly been partition up which spoilt the effect somewhat but heading up to the top level of the circle it was much nicer and more original. We found the old battery room and a fairly average projection room and were starting to think the place was a little bit of a let down. The last bit to check was the roof, the ceiling of the main auditorium was once a large dome, This had been replaced with a lovely 1960s thing but we still hoped there would be a bit of the original dome left to see above it.. Well there wasnt really. Not the plaster work anyway but the roof space and rooftop itself wasn't bad and it was a bit of a highlight to end the explore on..

Id have to give it a 6/10 i think. Lovely building but sadly lacking that really epic feature to rave about.

cinematreasures said:
Opened as the Elite Cinema in July 1923, and designed by architect James Forbes with 1,900 seats. It was owned and operated by Walter Bentley Cinemas Ltd. who also operated the Elite Cinema in Nottingham. The Elite Cinema had modest size stage and a café which had room for dancing. In 1930 it was equipped with a Compton 2 Manual/6Ranks organ, and a Western Electric(WE) sound system was fitted. In December 1935 it was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain

It was modernised in 1964 when it was renamed ABC and then further altered when after a four month closure it reopened on 6th May 1974 as a triple cinema. From the sizes of the cinemas (ABC1: 490 seats, ABC2: 289 seats and ABC3: 268 seats) I assume this was not a drop wall conversion but an internal rebuilding, so most likely when the building was later converted to a Crown Bingo Club and then a pub, there was little left to preserve!

Interesting exterior, largely intact, with a monumental corner entrance over five storeys. Built in brick with stone dressed windows (demi lune shaped in many instances), the cinema also contained a stage, ballroom and cafe. The exterior wall of the auditorium as viewed from the rear is circular.

The Crown pub was closed suddenly on 2nd January 2015.


Original Exterior in its ABC Guise

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The Circle

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Just a row of seats spared the strip out.. Sadly they were all still there when it was open as a bar

IMG_8591 (2).JPG

Curvey Corridors

IMG_8582 (2).JPG

Battery Room

IMG_8579 (2).JPG

Old Follow Spot

IMG_8558 (2).JPG

Projection Room

IMG_8597 (2).JPG

On the Roof

IMG_8596 (2).JPG

In the Roof


The Amateur Wanderer

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nice Borlad and I have taken a couple of looks at this unsuccessfully a few years back.

Looks good, I wasn't expecting anything to still be in there, was an online auction back in 2015 I think that's emptied most of it but good to see something's still in!

Camera Shy

Old enough to know better
Regular User
Really nice despite the lack of epic as you put it, beautiful building externally too.


Got Epic?
Regular User
Bit weird too. The floor is sloped just enough that you cant balance. Plays tricks on you in the dark..

Exploring with Andy

Behind Closed Doors
Staff member
Although the auditorium isn't looking its best, there's still some nice old bits there, and inside the roof is awesome!


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Sorry, id prepped the photos but never got around to doing the research on its history!

That dome shot was worth the faffing in the end!