'Cinema's Classic Pictures see the Light'

Article, David Whetstone, Newcastle Journal, December 15th, 2006
‘Cinema's Classic Pictures see the Light’

Tyneside Cinema article Peter Yates artist Newcastle upon Tyne edge
A NEWCASTLE cinema is giving up its precious secrets, the latest being a mural by one of the region’s most notable architects.
It was in the 1970s that Peter Yates depicted a potted history of moving pictures on a wall at the Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street.
The mural, starting with a Victorian zoetrope machine and ending with an Andy Warhol-inspired portrait of Marilyn Monroe, decorated the new Club Cinema.
When the upper cinema became the Electra the mural was covered - like many features which made the 1930s cinems one of the most beautiful in the country.
Now, as part of a £6.5m revamp to incorporate a new screen and enhanced facilities, the surviving treasures, including murals, mosaics, coloured plasterwork and stained glass, are returning to the light.
Builders working for development company Wates found Peter Yates’s mural this week.
Cyril Winskell, of Jesmond, Newcastle, conservation architect on the project, was a friend of Mr Yates who died 20 years ago and has a photo of him working on the mural.
He said: “Peter and Gordon Ryder established Ryder and Yates in Newcastle, (now known as RyderHKS), the best modern practitioners of architecture in the North-East since the war.”
They made waves by designing innovative buildings for the Gas Board in Killingworth and Peter Yates also designed MEA House and the Salvation Army hostel on City Road.
Mr Winskell said Peter was a hero of the Blitz - one of those who saved St Paul’s Cathedral by kicking incendiary bombs off the roof - and later, having been called up, he took part in the liberation of Paris.
He saw a plaque on a house identifying it as the home of famous painter Georges Braque.
“He knocked and Braque himself answered. Peter said ‘Do you do painting lessons?’ So he had lessons from Georges Braque in 1945.”
Mr Winskell said the mural would have to be removed but could be reinstalled as the backdrop to a cinema bar after being restored.
The Tyneside’s screenings have temporarily moved to Gateshead Old Town Hall, and is due to reopen in 2008.

David Whetstone


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