Cannon Cinema, Dovecot Street – May 1995


Originally the site of the Hippodrome theatre which opened in December 1905. It was taken over by the Essoldo Cinema chain in 1955 and renamed the Essoldo in June 1968. Though by April 1972, it had been renamed the Classic. Taken over for a third time in 1986 it was renamed the Cannon. It closed for good in September 1993 and demolished in January 1996. The ARC now stands on the site.

19 thoughts on “Cannon Cinema, Dovecot Street – May 1995

  1. I remember the Hippodrome with the Harry Hanson Players in the early 1950’s.
    Frank Pettite and Helen Perterson ; the junior lead was a young man called Harry?
    A different show every week . Great times.
    Malcolm Green.


  2. The hippodrome was never known as the flea pit and was well looked after by the owners the Medcalfe Brothers who were real gentlemen who put on many good plays performed by the Harry Hanson court players also good films for many years before and after the second world war . I never heard any one complain and there was always queues forming to get in to see the films and the plays


    • While it may not of been known as the flea pit when it was the Hippodrome, as the Cannon cinema it did get very run-down and thread bare, especially towards the end of it’s life. Having said that it didn’t stop us going though, on cheap nights (£1) the queues of school kids waiting to get in got quite long. I guess it also helped that it was easy to get to by ourselves, compared to today’s options at Teesside Park or Middlesbrough.


  3. `This certainly was the Hippodrome Theatre for many years were I had a seat booked to watch the Harry Hanson court players presenting a different play every week for ten seasons
    in the 1940s to 1950s , one of the actors I remember was called Frank Middlemas a lead actor in most of the plays who acted in many television shows in later years such has Heart beat in Whitby, the theatre was owned by the Medcarfe Brothers for many years in that period up to 1955 when it was sold and renamed the Essoldo.


  4. Only the Cannon by the time I remembered it. I am pretty sure the first film I ever went to see was here- a re-showing of “The Lady and the Tramp” as I recall. Last I saw was Jurassic Park, just after the Showcase in Teesside Park opened and just before it closed for good.

    I feel too young to be on this site, almost (were it not for the fact the town has changed, and declined, so drastically in the 27 years of my life).

    And it amazes me how such a huge building managed to stand there given what you have now.


    • This was certainly known as The Hippodrome Theatre in 1970 when I made my first, and as it happens, last appearance in The Gang Show here. It was something of a special event for The Sockton and District Scout Group that particular year, as The Gang Show was finally given recognised status as such by powers that be in London. This meant that we were given distinctive red neckerchiefs embriodered “Stockton Gang Show” in gold. I remember that Austin Melia was the Musical Director and I’m sure that Eddie Jobson, later to play violin/keyboards with both Curved Air and Roxy Music, but then still at Bede Hall Grammar School, was in the orchestra. I would be grateful if anyone could confirm the latter?


      • I was also in the same Gang Show John, as was my brother Paul. We remember Fergus Mclellan as one of the main organisers.


  5. The burning question for many Stockton residents and one time regular cinema-goers must be, ‘Whatever happened to that statue?’ (The apparent life-size one, perched high above the street over the arched window).


    • The statue was requested to be saved, I think it went to either Stockton Council or Preston Park Museum. MAybe someone can confirm this…


      • I do not know about the statue, but I worked for Teesside Museum Service in the early 1970s and I recall that we removed some fittings from inside the building. That must have been when building ceased to be used as a theatre and it was only used as a cinema after that.


  6. It was always the Hippodrome when I was a kid in the 60s, the Beatles films there, Help and Hard Days Night. I lived 3 streets away in Milbank Street and used the cinema frequently. I didn’t think it was called anything but the hippo, and the classic, I thought the Essoldo was on the high street…


    • Yes, it was, the Essoldo, in the High Street at one time and then Lucky Seven Bingo Hall, which is now Frank’s carpet’s. The Hippodrome or the flea-pit as it was better known, was taken over by the Essoldo cinema’s in 1955 and renamed it the Essoldo in June 1968. Sadly a fine old building now gone.


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