Essoldo

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

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