Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle's Vanished Empire Theatre; GENERATIONS OF GEORDIES FLOCKED TO THE NEWGATE STREET VENUE NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON Recalls the People and Places of the North East EMAIL: David.Morton.Editorial@ncjmedia.Co.UK TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, ncjMedia, Eldon Court, Percy Street, Newcastle, NE1 7JB. @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History Photosales - 0191 201 6000

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle's Vanished Empire Theatre; GENERATIONS OF GEORDIES FLOCKED TO THE NEWGATE STREET VENUE NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON Recalls the People and Places of the North East EMAIL: David.Morton.Editorial@ncjmedia.Co.UK TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, ncjMedia, Eldon Court, Percy Street, Newcastle, NE1 7JB. @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History Photosales - 0191 201 6000

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE MORTON

NEWCASTLE'S Newgate Street is thronged with people in this wonderful photograph from 1910.

It was a time long before the motor car would come to monopolise the roads of our towns and cities.

This was also the year when Newcastle United lifted their first FA Cup; Whitley Bay's Spanish City opened its doors for the first time; and the popular King Edward VII died.

I'm pretty certain none of our readers will remember much about 1910, but many will be familiar with the grand building on Newgate Street in the middle of our picture.

This was the Empire Palace Theatre - known to all as simply "the Empire".

Generations of Geordies flocked here until its closure 55 years ago.

Today there's no trace of it, but folk might still recall some of the major stars who trod the boards there in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Laurel and Hardy, Ted Ray, Arthur Askey, Tommy Trinder, Max Miller, The Goons, The Inkspots, Morecambe and Wise, Bruce Forsyth, Johnny Ray, Slim Whitman, Lonnie Donegan, Frank Ifield, Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and many, many more brought the house down at the Newcastle Empire.

Comedian Roy Hudd's first visit to Newcastle was to appear at the Empire. "It was my first job outside London," recalled the 82-year-old Cockney.

"I did this act which had always gone down very well at home but I didn't get a titter. Afterwards, I asked the manager what had gone wrong. He said 'De ye understand me?' I eventually said I didn't. And he said 'Well, they diven't understand yee eetha!'.

"So he taught me to slow down and tone down my Cockney accent. My landlady came to see the show and when I asked her how she liked it, she said, 'You dorty bugga' - and that's the greatest compliment I have ever had in the North East."

The theatre was built on the site of an old coaching house. …

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