Further details about an old-style 1950s cinema that will showcase 'the golden age of movies' in County Durham.

Next year, Beamish Museum will unveil its new 'The Grand' cinema, a replica of one from Ryhope from years gone by. 

The cinema will offer visitors the chance to experience a trip to the pictures during 'a vital period for cinema',

The exhibit includes a main auditorium with a stage, screen, pit benches and upholstered seats.

The Grand was a working cinema from its opening in 1913 and was hugely popular in its heyday in the 1950s, regularly selling out all its seats in Ryhope.

A sharp decline in cinema visits in the 1960s, due largely to the popularity and availability of television sets, meant that the cinema ceased trading and became a bingo hall.

The Grand was donated to the museum by Angela and Gary Hepple.

The Northern Echo: Beamish Museum will unveil its new 'The Grand' cinema, a replica of one from Ryhope from years gone byBeamish Museum will unveil its new 'The Grand' cinema, a replica of one from Ryhope from years gone by (Image: BEAMISH)

In 2019, the original building underwent a full architectural survey to assess which materials were suitable for salvage and re-use and a record made of any items that could not be saved.

In 2020, The Grand was dismantled, with re-usable parts and features incorporated into The 1950s Town cinema

Beamish Museum’s recreation of The Grand is set to include options of feature-length films at set times as well as showing archive footage, shorts and news during the day, plus potential for occasional evening screenings of 1950 classic films.

Visitors will also be able to take a look behind the scenes at the projection room and learn about the skilled role of the projectionist.

Work began on the 1950s cinema in March this year. 

At the time, Rhiannon Hiles, Beamish’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re very excited to be starting work on The Grand Cinema, Romer Parrish toy shop and A Reece Ltd electrical shop and workshop, in our wonderful 1950s Town.

“We can’t wait to welcome visitors to experience a trip to the cinema and discover popular toys and the latest in 1950s technology in the shops.

“Our Remaking Beamish exhibits that have already opened are proving very popular with visitors. There is so much to look forward to at the museum, with the completion of our 1950s Town, and work on the expansion of our Georgian area, including self-catering cottages and a tavern, which will be starting soon.

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The Northern Echo:

“This is a very exciting time for the museum and we are extremely grateful to our visitors, staff, volunteers, funders and partners for their support.”

Alongside releasing further details, Beamish is looking for Cinema Seat Sponsors to raise money to complete the cinema build and fit out the cinema.

All seat sponsors will see their name on a cinema seat and will be invited to an exclusive celebration event when the cinema opens in 2024.

Seat sponsorship is available for £295 on a first-come, first-served basis. Head to the Beamish website for more details.