Category Archives: News

Standing still

Thanks to Facebook reader Andrew for this photo spotting a rare moment where work is captured. No matter where or what’s going on around the circumstances of this building, somebody is at least keeping it standing (empty).

Happy(ish) 80th Birthday

It’s now 80 years since the building opened and 50 YEARS since the last film was screened! It’s also be 21 years since the general population of Stretford were last allowed to step inside and 19 years since it was purchased by the current owners. That’s quite a set of anniversaries! 

Whilst this website has been tracking the life and times of this pickled building for nearly 1/8th of its existence now (10 years!) there’s not ever been much to report. If you really want to get your cinema geek on however and feel the force of like minded people across the U.K., you’d do well to get yourself a membership of the Cinema Theate Association. 

Compulsory Purchase Order Petition

There’s a petition doing the rounds online to have Trafford Council issue a CPO on the owner. Take a look at the petition and the reasoning behind it here

Time stands still…still…in numbers

In 12 months it will be 80 years since the building opened and 50 YEARS since the last film was screened! It will also be 21 years since the general population of Stretford were last allowed to step inside and 19 years since it was purchased by the current owners. To date there is still no clear picture of what happens next.

Stretford Masterplan – The Essoldo bits

Listed here are the Essoldo Stretford highlights from the lastest draft of the Stretford Masterplan (January 2014). If you want to read about the bigger picture for the whole area, you can do so here.

Summary – Essoldo Cinema

The Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema building, designed in the art deco style, is an important heritage asset for Stretford Town Centre. Its distinctive frontage and location at a gateway into the town centre makes it a key landmark building. Originally known as the Longford Theatre, the building opened in 1936 and was renamed the Essoldo in 1950. From the mid1960s the building was used as a bingo hall until its closure in 1995. It is currently in private ownership and has remained vacant for over 15 years providing an unattractive frontage.

Objectives –

To promote the refurbishment, enhancement and reuse of historic buildings such as the Essoldo Cinema and Stretford Public Hall. The SPD identifies opportunity areas including Chester Road, Stretford, which are in need of improvement either through cleaning, landscaping or redevelopment. The Essoldo Cinema is identified as one of the major opportunity sites for intervention.

Historic buildings –

The Masterplan area contains three Grade II listed buildings, namely, Stretford Public Hall, the Essoldo Cinema, and St Matthew’s Church. The former Post Office building on King Street and Stretford library on Kingsway, whilst not listed, are buildings of historic interest and provide a link to Stretford’s past. These buildings provide a valuable contribution to Stretford’s indentity and character. It will be important to ensure these are preserved and enhanced in the delivery of the Masterplan.

Site 4: Essoldo Cinema

The Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema has been vacant since 1995. Repairs have recentlybeen made to the external fabric of the building. There is potential to create a new entertainment / leisure facility at this location contributing to the development of the evening economy and providing family orientated activities within the town centre.

Restoration of the Essoldo Cinema could link more effectively with the parade of shops, office units and residential uses on Edge Lane immediately to the south of the building and with the Bridgewater Canal to the rear of the site.

The restoration of the Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema building would provide the opportunity for a large scale family friendly entertainment facility within Stretford Town Centre. This would support the development of the evening economy and also encourage families to use the town centre for leisure uses. Restaurant / café / bar facilities could also be provided as part of the Essoldo site. Works to the rear of the site would improve access to the Bridgewater Canal and take advantage of proximity to this waterside setting.

Funding & Delivery –

The delivery of the Masterplan will be dependent on effective partnership working. As part of the new governance structure described above collaborative working with the community, businesses, landowners, developers, investors, retailers and residents will deliver the revitalisation of Stretford Town Centre.

Key action points – 2014 to 2018

Engagement will be undertaken with the owner of the Essoldo Cinema to progress proposals to bring this site back into active use.

Just over the road lurks another landmark in distress!

Just over the road is another building that needs some care to ensure its survival. Checkout the Friends of Stretford Public Halls Facebook group including an album from their recent tour of the building. At least they get to look inside their building! 😦


77 years young today! Fingers crossed for a good year in Stretford

77 years ago today the Longford Cinema in Stretford (latter Essoldo) first opened its doors to the public and whilst the building was put into retirement way before its time, hopefully we’ll see a rebirth very soon!

Over the past year it might seem as if very little has happened in the way of progress. However there have been talks between the owner and the council and community groups. It’s unclear whether these talks will lead to anything in the near future however the owner is still clear on their intended use of the building which is fairly uncontroversial and will allow the public some access once more. However this could be several years off yet. Unfortunately not much can be said about this using the website as this could potentially jeopardise plans or startle the owner which is certainly not the aim.

What did become clear in the buildings 76th year though was that the people of Stretford are still deeply passionate about seeing this building back in use and that there are parties out there who have the ability to create intelligent conversations with the buildings owners and more encouragingly that the buildings owners are willing to respond.

Let’s see if year 77 brings some kind of public access at long last.