I took these pictures of Stretford’s art deco cinema building on my phone last weekend- it was so cold I could hardly operate the button. Stretford is just up the road from here and this old cinema building is one of my favourite Mancunian buildings. Previously known as Longford Cinema and Stretford Essoldo it’s been empty since the early 90s when the bingo it housed moved out (Top Rank Bingo). The current owners said in 2010 they had plans for it but other than a coat of paint it’s had little care or attention since. The location isn’t ideal for much anymore I suppose. On the corner of a major crossroads, four lanes of Chester Road traffic flying past and opposite a seen better days shopping centre (once Stretford Arndale, recently re-branded as Stretford Mall).

In the 1930s it looked like this…

And in it’s 1937 heyday…

The walkway/concourse has long gone since then, making way for a lane of traffic. In 1960 it was still a bustling suburban cinema…

Up the side Edge Lane leads to Chorlton. There’s a row of shops, some empty, and the old exit from the Essoldo which has this beautiful curved brick recess and a large column sticking up.

Morrissey lived not much more than a stone’s throw from here, the iron bridge where he kissed crosses the canal and railway line that pass behind the back of the Essoldo half a mile south. I think Ivor Perry (of 80s janglers Easterhouse and briefly Johnny Marr’s replacement in The Smiths) is a Stretfordian too. Bowie played Stretford sometime in the 70s according to my hairdresser as well. But it’s Morrissey’s patch popculturewise. His public pronouncements have become increasingly bizarre and ill-judged recently and he’s currently poorly (Still Ill with double pneumonia). His solo career is very hit and miss but this song, a B-side, is something special- if you want a self-pitying wallow.

Never Played Symphonies

9 Responses

  1. I've noticed they often paint Art Deco buildings that horrible shade of turquoise.

  2. Those dreams of Metropolis. Beautiful. Very sad what happens to these buildings. Top post!

  3. The colour scheme used to be worse- they had part of it painted pink along with the turqoise.

  4. morrisey was at the ireland v. austria match on Tuesday as was I. fuckin freezin. for a man under the weather like.

  5. Bowie played at the site of what is new B&Q on Great Stone Road. Roxy too played there. The Tony Fletcher book on the Smiths gives more detail. But I've never seen pix of the cinema from its heyday, despite driving past it most days. Thanks!

  6. Yes the colour scheme comes from tne 1980s when a version of art deco became popular again. The orogional colour was yellow tiling. The tiles got cemented over a few years ago. More info on this building at

  7. Thanks Matthew- the tiles are visible in the older pictures. Shame they can't be revealed. The Longfordcinema site is great.Adrian- I knew I'd read the reference to Bowie in Stretford somewhere recently.

  8. I'm never quite sure whether to call Stretford Mall in the American way (as if you're saying maul) or not.Either way,they should just close it down.It's like Dawn of the Dead in there now.

  9. Mall, maul- who knows? It's grim either way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: