Queen’s Hall cinema, Hexham.

Queen’s Hall.

3 Beaumont Street,

 Hexham, NE46 3LS

Owners:  Thomas Herbert Scott,  Hexham Entertainments Company.

Opened by: Sir Charles Morris Bates.

Seating Capacity: stalls~ 450, circle~200  total= 650.

Architects (after fire damage, 1931):  Hetherington and Wilson.

Date opened: Monday 14th March 1921.

Date Closed: Thursday 4th May 1961.

Building Extant.


The Queen’s Hall Hexham was built in 1866 as the Town Hall and Corn Exchange. The Hall became a cinema, which opened on the 14th March 1921 and seated 450 in the stalls and 200 in the circle. The building had six dressing rooms and also housed a café ballroom in the former Corn Exchange part of the building. The proscenium was 21 feet wide and 16 feet deep.

The cinema was run by The Hexham Entertainments Company. The managing director was a Tom H. Scott. Proceeds from the opening performance went to the Graham War Memorial Hospital and Nursing Association. Opening was performed by a Sir Charles Morris Bates. It was reported there was a full house for the opening.

The original silent film ‘Sons Of The Sea’

In 1928 Magnascope was employed to screen the film ‘Sons of the Sea’, which was favourably received. A Panatrope was also installed that year. This was a twin turntable (later non sync) for playing orchestral music and sound effects to accompany the silent movies.

On the 9th February 1931 a fire destroyed the auditorium. The cinema was rebuilt in four months, reopening on 29th June 1931. The architects for the reconstruction were Hetherington and Wilson, a Newcastle firm.

The entrance hall and the auditorium had a blending of cream and orange for the foundation colourings. The walls were blended in a stripped glaze effect with festoons on the upper portions picked out in gold. The fumed oak panelled dado and woodwork with the marbled columns were in complete harmony with colourings above.


Queen’s Hall cinema.

Before the fire struck the hall had a fine Italian style ceiling, and this was where the fire did most damage. The new ceiling was in rich orange and gold and softened down to more delicate hues at the cornice, giving an attractive effect.

There was a labelled mahogany dado in the circle and the body of the auditorium surmounted by walls treated with plastic paint, which was richly decorated from Orange at the base and blending into lemon and gold at the cornice. Fibrous plaster was employed and on the side walls were balustrades and windows.

Bolder colouring was used in the decoration of the proscenium where. gold stood out, but orange and cream panels were skilfully blended together with a unique Sunray effect at the apex. The whole made a colourful ensemble.

Up in the operating box stood two Simplex projectors with Western Electric sound. Western Electric had been used previously. Tabs were supplied by Hall and Dixon and were in red velour to match the scheme of seating in the circle, which had been re-seated with The Shaftesbury model in inlaid mahogany upholstered in red plush. Comfortable tub seats in green plush were in the stalls. The front stalls housed tip-up chairs in red rexine. The front stage curtains were appliqued in contrasting satins. Holophane lighting was another feature.

Original circular lights were filled with leaded glass in heraldic design, centred respectively with the arms of England and County, the Manor of Hexham and of Margaret of Anjou, whose name has an historic association with the town. The design was matched on the opposite wall and was illuminated prior to each performance. It was said that nothing has been omitted to provide the theatre with the most elaborate scheme in artificial illumination.

The principle ceiling lights were in two sets of fifteen, arranged in two banks and were of the latest design and provided the main illumination for the hall. There were rose tinted shell lights above the exits. Two spot lights in the circle were used for stage play purposes.

A new type of rubber screen was installed, which was claimed to add to the brilliance of the picture.

Carpeting was Axminster with Turkey pattern, having a red ground of pleasing shade.

Closure as a cinema took place on the 4th May 1961 and was converted for bingo, run by Bailey’s

In 1976, the County Council purchased it and in 1977 work began to renovate the building. In the old Corn Exchange area a library was opened in 1979. In 1982 more work was carried out to restore the cinema area. A deeper stage was installed and the building mainly used for live performances. Film didn’t entirely cease as a local film club screened DVD movies once a month.

David A Ellis ©chestercinemas.co.uk