Metro news item

Plan to restore cinema
Katherine Vine
April 09, 2010

A historic Art Deco cinema left crumbling for decades is to be renovated.

The Essoldo has stood empty since 1994, sparking outrage from people with fond memories of the Grade II listed landmark.

Campaigners who battled to save the Chester Road structure from further decay expressed delight work has finally begun. John Schofield, who can see the cinema, formerly called The Longford, from his bedroom, said: “It was the most luxurious cinema I have ever been in anywhere. It was very sad when it closed down. “I still have letters my wife wrote when I was in the forces saying ‘we must go to The Longford – we haven’t been in ages’. “It is an absolute eyesore at the moment so it would be wonderful if something could be done with it.”

The Essoldo’s owner, a Stretford businessman who wants to stay anonymous, said the building’s frontage will be made watertight and dilapidated side walls patched up. He added he hopes it will remain an entertainment venue. “There is a lot of work scheduled, including a complete repaint, but lately the weather has slowed us down a bit,” he said. “There are plans in the pipeline which we hope to be able to make progress on later in the year.”

Essoldo fan Matthew White, who runs, described the work as ‘really encouraging’. He said: “Maybe it’s time for Stretford to get behind the owners and offer support.”

The Essoldo started life as The Longford Cinema in 1939. During the Second World War it was used for Sunday concerts involving various stars of stage and screen, including a young Julie Andrews, and also played host to the Hallé Orchestra when it was bombed out of the Free Trade Hall in 1940. In 1950 it was bought by The Essoldo Circuit, which ran it as a cinema until 1965.

It has subsequently opened as a bingo hall and club, before being sold again in 1997 to its present owner.


5 responses to “Metro news item

  1. this is great news, i would love to go inside, it would bring back some happy memories

  2. I was fascinated to see a news update on the front page of this week’s Trafford Metro News! I too have fond memories of visiting the Essoldo in the late 60’s to see James Bond movies! From reading various articles I keep hearing that the “owner” is a person who chooses to remain anonymous, and I respect his wishes. However, I can’t help feeling that the longer “he” remains anonymous, then so does the building itself! Perhaps it might be a good idea for the owner to make himself known, perhaps get in touch with national TV for a possible interview with someone like Lorraine Kelly, and with the “right” exposure and publicity it may then be possible to achieve some BIG renovation funds from the like’s of National Lottery, or English Heritage, etc.

    Hope my comments on here may help in some way because I am a genuine supporter of this very Unique building. With the “right” publicity and subsequent renovation it could attract visitors from the whole North West (not just little old Stretford), in a similar way that the Film and TV museum attracts people to Bradford. I would be pleased to offer any more ideas – but it’s not easy to communicate with someone who is anonymous!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Is ‘he’ from Stretford or Sale as in a previous press article? And how much are election candidates going to make of it in order to get elected. It is a popular building that everyone wants to see restored and used but for political interest to start now is a bit not very good (can’t think of the right phrase but I hope you know what I mean. It’s late!)

  4. They also got my name wrong in the article so Stretford or Sale, whatever! But he’s kind of local wherever he is and at least its a real person rather than a property company. I wasn’t aware of any political interest in the building. Theres several councilors who I’ve spoken with who have had a long standing interest in the building, but don;t really have any influence over what is a private building. But hey, if candidates want to make a big deal of it, I don’t think it can be a bad thing at all, at least the building gets put into the conciousness of more local people.

  5. Pingback: What’s your vision for the buildings future usage? « Longford and Essoldo Cinema Stretford

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