15 thoughts on “The Ladbroke Social Club

  1. My mother Frances (nee) Dunill who is now 90 worked here when it was the Cinema as an usherette in the 40’s and 50’s and still enjoys sharing memories of her time there; she lived in Lawson Street where her parents Lily and Stan had a shop.


  2. ESSOLDO CINEMA: In the 1950s, I knew this theatre as ‘The Cinema’, it was situated 100 yards from the Odeon, and close to the United buses ticket office. Because of its lack of frontage (you entered this cinema through a short tunnel in to reach the actual entrance area at the rear of the building) ‘The Cinema,’ was considered by many to be Stockton’s most ignored by the public cinema, this viewpoint altered in 1952 when the cinema owners the Essoldo Cinema Group showed a film called The Day the Earth Stood Still, which for publicity purposes they had placed outside the doors a statue of Gort a robot who, it was claimed in this film, had arrived in a space ship from another planet along with a spaceman called Klaatu, it was claimed that they had come together from another planet in order to bring to the people of planet Earth this message “that they should stop warring with each other, they must stop the use of atomic weapons and learn to live in peace with other, or else”. The spaceship captain was called Klaatu (Michael Rennie) the poor guy had only been here five minutes before he was shot by a trigger-happy soldier which caused his robot companion Gort to destroy by ray-gunning them a US tank and some army weapons before being stopped by his master. After escaping from the hospital where he’s being treated for gunshot wounds, Klaatu borrows some clothes and a military uniform and sets out to seek Professor Barnhardt (an Albert Einstein look-alike – Einstein being the German-born theoretical physicist awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics 1921) This great film and this statue of Gort placed in Stockton high street must have attracted every child in Stockton and Thornaby to visit this cinema, for children it was the film of the decade and is still being shown on TV, with the catchphrase Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! Is still remembered by many.

    • Essoldo Cinemas was formed in 1938 as North-East Coast Cinemas Ltd. Head office: Newcastle Chairman & Managing director’: Solomon Sheckman, who had acquired as going concerns during the 1940s and early 1950 a number of provincial cinemas houses with most being converted to bingo in the late 1960s. This Business was commenced by first acquiring the Queen’s Theatre, South Shields. The unusual Essoldo company name was formed from the Sheckman family names: Esther (his wife), SOL owner, and Dorothy (his daughter).


    • I saw ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ and the large replica robot at the Cinema too, when I was about seven or eight. I remember it being in the lobby though, at the top end of the tunnel. Maybe it was raining that day so they kept it inside!


    • The passage way leading to the Cinema were you pay To enter the Cinema Was Called Penny Pipers Bazaar Nothing over one Penny when I got my Penny Pocket money on Saturday I would go to the Bazaar a to spend it this was before the Cinema was built I will shortly be 100 years old but still Remember,the Bazaar


  3. My Mum worked there when it was the Essoldo cinema, and some years later my Mum & Grandad worked there. My Uncle managed the place as a Bingo Hall and he and my Aunt lived in the flat upstairs. We loved playing up there, so many hidden rooms.


  4. I think this used to be The Essoldo cinema, I seem to remember as a youngster, it seemed like a long walk from the entrance to the cashiers booth.


  5. It was the Essoldo bingo when I was young, I’m now 64 and I was stood here waiting for my mum to come out one day when the newspaper seller’s billboard was headlined “Donald Campbell Accident In Bluebird”. He and his boat had disappeared on the lake.


    • You’ve had me scrutinising all the windows on that block now! Shame that the building two to the left of the cinema had all the gothic windows and the bay window removed and replaced with boring flat square ones, but then the next one down has gone the other way – it had the original bay replaced with an ugly square one in the 80s but looking on google streetview it now has matching (but smaller) gothic ones! I was also surprised on the WWI celebration photo to see that the top panes of the gothic windows actually open – I’d have thought they have been set in and only the bottom sash ones would open.


  6. Well that photo takes me back. I think to the right is “Mr Trimms” the hairdressers that was originally Gunners. Great memories of sitting in the chair chatting to John.


    • Quite right, John left Gunners which was under Hepworths on the corner of Dovecote St. to set up on his own. He was very successful as a lot of customers followed him to Mr Trims, me included.


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