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Cookridge Street, former Gaumont Cinema


Subject ID:
20041210_86515445
Location:
City Centre
Subject Year:
Copyright:
Mr. K. S. Wheelan
Class number:
CINE 18
Cookridge Street, former Gaumont Cinema
Description:
1970. View of the Gaumont Cinema on Cookridge Street. When it first opened on Wednesday 15th July 1885 the Coliseum was run as a concert hall and variety theatre. It was built to designs by architect, W. Bakewell and originally seated an audience of 3,000 although the seating was later reduced to 1,700. The Gaumont opened as the Coliseum cinema advertising 'new century animated pictures' in 1905 when the proprietor was Sydney Carter. He later moved his successful enterprise to the Assembly Rooms on New Briggate (1907). The management in the early 1930s became Gaumont Ltd and the name of the cinema changed to The Gaumont-Coliseum on Monday 24th October 1938 and re-opened with showings of Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', released in 1937, and 'Rhythm on the Ranch' with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette. It closed on Saturday 23rd December 1961 with 'Pied Piper of Hamblin' starring Van Johnson. Subsequently, the Gaumont became a Bingo Hall until 1969 and this image was taken after it had closed. The premises have since been the venue of the Town and Country Club (1992 - 2000) and, more recently, Creation nightclub (2001 - 2007. Presently, (2013) it is the O2 Academy and has been since 2008 when the Kaiser Chiefs performed at the opening gig on the 8th October. The Coliseum was the site of at least two suffragette related disturbances both coinciding with the visits of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. The first disturbances took place on Saturday 10th October 1908 when Asquith was in Leeds to address a meeting at the Coliseum. A large crowd of suffragettes had gathered in Vernon Street where they joined with the Unemployed Leader Alfred Kitson and a crowd of men marching for the 'right to work'. They marched to the Coliseum to try and speak with Asquith and present a petition. It ended with the arrests of suffragette Mrs Jennie Baines and Alfred Kitson for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. In November 1908 Baines became the first member of the WSPU to be tried by jury. Refusing to be bound over, she was convicted to six weeks imprisonment because "She did not recognise the laws of this Court administered by Men". Kitson was also charged with assaulting a police officer. Asquith visited the Coliseum again on 27 November 1913, thousands of suffragettes gathered in Victoria Square before continuing the demonstration along Great George Street to the Coliseum. As they passed the Labour Exchange offices at the corner of Great George Street and Portland Crescent, large stones were thrown shattering the fifteen feet tall windows. Suffragette Leonora Cohen was arrested for smashing the windows and Jessie Hunter for assaulting the police and other disturbances.

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