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Report - - The Regent Theatre / Mecca Bingo, South Shields, July 2018 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Regent Theatre / Mecca Bingo, South Shields, July 2018

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catbalou

off the wall
Regular User
The Regent Theatre / Mecca Bingo, South Shields, July 2018
I first attempted this a few year back when it closed in September 2014 with no success, then tried again with Sed a couple of years back which again was a fail but have funny memories of him being stuck on the roof at one point and me trying to help but with great difficulty due to laughing as it was getting light by the time he decide to climb and a double decker bus transporting the early morning shift workers was going past at the most inopportune time, who proceeded to stare in a most bemused fashion at a couple of plonkers wandering around their roofs.
We must have covered every nook and cranny, up/over/around to no avail in the early hours. The place was sealed. I gave up after a couple more visits. Fast forward two years and having a little spare time, I noticed it was listed for auction, so decided to have one more go at at it and this time, I managed to find a way in, albeit an uncomfortable one. Its a shame it took this long, but to be honest I think even if I managed to find access two year back I think it would have been the same state then as it is now.
Typical renovated theatre to the sub-standard decor of a mecca bingo hall, and disappointing to not find much in the way of its prior theatre goodness, but the original control panel, strand electric switch board was a nice find.

History from Cinema Treasures and and various "Sand Dancer" Shields forums

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The Regent Cinema was opened on 21st October 1935. The inaugural film was The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon, and the net takings at the box office were £453 11s 5d. With a formidable number of other picture halls in the town in competition, it was important that this new ‘super cinema’ in Shields, The Regent, at Westoe, should return the investment in it.
Described as ‘South Shields’ Super Luxury Cinema', it was built for and operated by the independent chain Thompson’s Enterprises Ltd. of Middlesbrough. It was designed in a Neo-Classical style by architect John Cecil Clavering of architectural firm J.H. Morton & Son.

The Regent Cinema had a fully equipped stage, with fly tower, which was put to good use over the years. It was described as “luxuriously modern” when it opened, boasting refreshment kiosks in all parts as well as air conditioning. It came close to being destroyed on May 24, 1943 when it was severely damaged in an air raid which wiped out the front of the Air Raid Precautions stores at the adjacent Regent Garage. Two people were killed.


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It was closed on 15th July 1966 with Cliff Richard in “Summer Holiday”. It was immediately converted into a Mecca Bingo Club, which then finally closed for good in September 2014.

Visited with Stranton, Aldous Blue, Sed and Digby (non-member), Thanks for the company guys :-)


Externals

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Entrance Foyer

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Bar area

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Projection room.. sadly empty, but i was kind of expecting that! Long gone are the days of finding mint projector booths as we did in the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough.

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In the roof walkways

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Views from the roof over Westoe

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Auditorium

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Sed mentioned that these huge blue vents could have been originally used for audio for an organ back in the day.. Im not sure, so if anyone (Dweeb?) could shed some light on that , thanks

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Above the stage...sketchy ladder time, so thought we'd leave this bit til last!

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Cheers, Cat x
 

Sed

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nicely put together report Cat! That was my first explore for ages and I thoroughly enjoyed getting out again - lots of laughs and I loved those switches we found above the stage. Having spent all that time stuck on the roof a few years back it was nice to get inside!! Cheers :)
 
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catbalou

off the wall
Regular User
Nicely put together report Cat! That was my first explore for ages and I thoroughly enjoyed getting out again - lots of laughs and I loved those switches we found above the stage. Having spent all that time stuck on the roof a few years back it was nice to get inside!! Cheers :)

No problem! Ive posted some pics in people shots of you acting like a complete wally too, lol. *Note to Sed*..... always be careful when someone near you has a camera! :-)
Hopefully see you soon when you're next back in town x
 

dave

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Good work there nice to Sed back in action i take it he hasnt lost his climbing skills.
 
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Shades

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
It looks like there are two switchboards, the one with the dimmers and dead front switches is a FH Pride design.
 

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