The Criterion Theatre opened in May 1912 as a cinema known as The Criterion Electric Theatre. The projection points were low, risking shadows over the screen if people stood up during a film. Sound was added in 1929 and the site continued to run as a cinema and theatre until 1968. After its closure, the building was converted into the Crown Bingo Club. Bingo numbers were called all the way up to March 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic brought forward the Bingo Hall’s closure.
The historic theatre was destined to be demolished to make way for flats, however the local council purchased the site for £600,000 in 2022, with hopes to restore the building and reopen it as a multi-purpose entertainment facility. The estimated cost of redevelopment is £1.65m, which has led to some criticism of the council over its spending.
The original interior included green seats and an olive green carpet, with flecks of green and red. Today the interior is less subtle and sophisticated, with vibrant pint walls and garish splashes of neon yellow, though some original features remain.
Last Updated on 9 October 2023 by Michael