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Factory Night @ Wallaw Old Cinema, Blyth

The Wallaw Theatre opened in mid-1937. It was part of a small independent Wallaw Circuit owned and operated by Walter Lawson (WALterLAWson) who had been operating cinemas since April 1914.

The Modern style facade belies the attractive auditorium within, the wonderful Art Moderne foyer contains its original fittings including metal handrails and inlaid doors. The auditorium is made up of three cinemas the Mini, Minor and Major Screens, the latter contains all original fittings including decorative plasterwork.

The Wallaw Cinema is designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage and closed its doors in 2004, with “The Passion of the Christ” the last film screened.

This Factory Night included a tour of the building by cinema projection room employee Peter Douglas and an opportunity to view his slides of the building from the 1980’s.

The Wallaw cinema is last remaining Walter Lawson Cinema in Northumberland and is now in a bad state of repair.  The original features remain largely untouched and this Factory Night may be the last opportunity to see the interior before it becomes too dangerous to enter. Owners Fergusons Motors and Cycles have explored a number of business options with the Local Authority including opening the building as an arts venue; however none have proved viable. Ferguson’s are looking to sell the Wallaw and are open to any creative ideas from attendees.

FUNDED BY: Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure, Inspire Northumberland,  Northern Rock Foundation and Arts Council England, with thanks to Fergusons Motors and Cycles and Peter Douglas.