Stoke-on-Trent - photo of the week

contents: 2010 photos

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Empire Bingo, Commerce Street, Longton

Empire Bingo - c.1967
Empire Bingo - c.1967

Commerce Street, Longton - previously this was the Empire Theatre and then Empire Cinema
it was destroyed by fire in 1993

photo: Ken & Joan Davis

A postcard of the Empire Theatre, Longton
- postmarked 1921 - 

Empire Cinema - location 13
Commerce Street, Longton - next to the Bus Station
From 1947 Pottery Gazette

The Empire, was a theatre before converting to a cinema in 1920

Madge Foulkes -

"We never got much money go to cinema, we didnít go only if we could sneak in. We used to go in back way ... and of course it was three-storey, you know three balconies at the Empire, and we used to get up to what we called the gods, up top, and course there was about six flights of steps you used to clatter down if you tried to sneak in. We Ďad some gay old times I tell you Ö When I got a bit older I could afford tuppence, when Iíd left school, but before then we used to go to matinees and pay Ďapenny, either Ďapenny or a penny, if you went in plush seats you paid a penny."

Elaine Mulholland (born Longton, 1936) remembers being a monitor in a childrenís club, at the Empire in Longton:

"I was in the ABC Minors and I rose in the ranks and became a monitor, had a special badge ... it used to be for youngsters, you used to have to join, you used to have to fill in a form. You were then called an ABC Minor and there used to be Saturday shows for about sixpence and people used to just flock, and if it was someoneís birthday they would go up on stage ... and people would sing and so on and so forth."

Fire at the Longton Empire in 1993
Fire at the Longton Empire in 1993
Built in 1920 and designed by the famous theatre architect Frank Matcham,
 it was converted into a cinema in 1920 and destroyed by fire in 1993

photo: Eileen Hallam


contents: 2010 photos