Reality in life is superior to make-believe in death

Mike and Diane Wilson -
Free Spirit

Home Page


The Coliseum

From the Bridlington Chronicle, Friday, 11th November, 1921:

NEW LOCAL COMPANIES: The undermentioned particulars of new companies recently registered are taken from the Daily Register, compiled by Messrs Jordan and Sons, Limited, company registration agents, 116 and 118 Chancery Lane, London WC2.

COLISEUM (BRIDLINGTON) LIMITED (177572). Regt, 31st October, 1921, 2 Market Street York. To purchase and complete the Picture Theatre, Ballroom and other building, now in the course of erection, situate in The Promenade, Bridlington, Yorkshire. Nominal capital, 35,000 in 35,000 shares of 1 each. Directors: W. E. Puckering, Brookbank, Welham Road, Malton, York (Chairman); L. Shaw, 10 Peterson Road, Wakefield; R. Crampton, The Turrett, Stockton Lane, York; G. Turner, St Nicholas Villa, Mayfield Road, Bridlington; H. W. Clarkson, 1 Promenade, Bridlington; T. W. Taylor, Grange Mead, Mill Lane, Heworth, York; P. C. Porter, 47 Moorgate, York. Qualification of Directors: 500 Ordinary Shares. Remuneration of Directors: 100 each; Chairman, 150.

From the Bridlington Chronicle, Friday, 24th March, 1922:

BRIDLINGTON'S NEW PLEASURE CENTRE, The Coliseum, Promenade. Interview with the Manager, Mr C. W. Hunter.

On Easter Monday, Bridlington's newest pleasure centre, one of the largest and most attractive in the county, will be opened to the public. Already great interest is being shown in the new enterprise, and our readers will be interested in our references to it. Later, we hope to give a more detailed description of the Coliseum.

A Chronicle reporter, on Monday afternoon, had a chat with the manager of the Coliseum, Captain Cecil W. Hunter, who comes to Bridlington with a big reputation as the successful manager of the Morecambe Tower, an enterprise on similar lines to the Coliseum, only perhaps, more so.

The Coliseum, as our readers will know, has been erected on the Promenade, and though the front is imposing it is hardly possible to realise from it that the enterprise of the promoters is one of such a large scale.

The ballroom is in the basement, and is admirably designed, and when complete will be very artistically decorated. Dancers will be charmed with the dancing floor. It is of rock maple, laid on 2,000 springs, and is unlike anything in the district - so light and responsive to the touch that the light fantastic step will for the dancers have a new charm. There will in the near future be surprise nights arranged, confetti carnivals, etc.

The theatre is one of the finest in the country, and when furnished and completed it will be a very charming place of entertainment. It will be furnished in the most up-to-date manner. There will be accommodation for over 1,200, and the chairs will be of the latest pattern in tip-ups. The decorative scheme is in Wedgwood blue. A perfect view of the stage will be available from every seat in the theatre, the floor being of rake design. As the manager remarked with a smile in reply to a question, there will be no necessity for ladies to take off their hats in order that those seated behind them may have a good view of the stage. The most elaborate millinery, whatever new fashions may evolve, will not impede the view, so that is all to the good!

The stage is spacious, and is equipped in the most up-to-date manner, and Mr Hunter remarked that it would be easily possible to stage some of the biggest attractions on the road. Mr Hunter said it was proposed to open the theatre in the first place as a cinema and later it is hoped to introduce musical varieties and attractions.

The first performance will take place on Easter Monday, and Mr Hunter has been successful in booking for that date the much-talked-of picture The Sign of the Door. It was run as a stageplay at the Playhouse, London, with great success, and with Miss Gladys Cooper in the caste. The film features Norma Talmadge and other well-known picture players. The film has had a great and successful run at the Alhambra Theatre, London.

A feature of the cinema will be the music provided by a competent orchestra.
During Easter Week, there will be dancing in the ballroom on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The ballroom will comfortably accommodate from 800 to 1,000 dancers.
Another feature which is sure to be appreciated is the lounge cafe at the front of the building, overlooking the Promenade, and from which there is a sea view. It is a spacious, roomy cafe, which no doubt will be used on many occasions, for important social functions.
Altogether, the enterprise of the promoters has produced a pleasure house, which is sure to be thoroughly appreciated by the many thousands of visitors who come to Bridlington, and no doubt also by our townsfolk.

Mr Hunter, before he joined the Army, was manager of The Palace, Rugby. He joined the ranks soon after the war broke out in 1914, and rose to the rank of captain.

At Morecambe, his managership was attended with marked success. In the ballroom and theatre (Sunday concerts in the theatre), there were run at Morecambe such attractions as H.M. Royal Artillery Mounted Band, the Royal Marine (First Chatham Division) Band; and the stars engaged included Dr Chas Hoby, Robert Radford, Ben Davis, Little Tich, Harry Tate, Harry Day, etc.

Mr Hunter comes to Bridlington with great experience and with a worthy record of success, and we feel sure he will add to his excellent record here. He will have a host of well-wishers, and all our readers will wish well the great enterprise with which his name is now associated.
The large staff of workmen are at work night and day, and the contractor (Mr George Turner, Bridlington), who is also one of the directors, assured our representative that there is no doubt about it - The Coliseum will be opened on Easter Monday.

From the Bridlington Free Press, 22nd April, 1922:

BRIDLINGTON'S NEW AMUSEMENT CENTRE. Coliseum opened by the Mayor.

The magnificent new centre of amusement, The Coliseum, which is situated on the Promenade, Bridlington, was opened in the presence of a large company on Easter Monday afternoon by the Mayor of the Borough. There were present on the stage at the ceremony Messrs W. E. Puckering, H. Firth, F. T. Clark, and Porter (directors), Capt. Hunter (manager), Mr R. Crompton (secretary), and Mr G. Turner, of the firm of Messrs H. E. Turner and Son, the contractors for the building.

Mr Puckering, chairman of the board of directors of the Coliseum, introducing the Mayor, said he had known that gentleman for many years and that the directors of the undertaking felt very much obliged to him for coming to declare the building open.

He took that opportunity of expressing the appreciation of the directors and the shareholders of Councillor Fenby's kindness. They owned an apology to their guests and patrons for asking them to come to an unfinished building. They had done their best to complete it for that occasion, but the building was still in an unfinished state. They would notice that there were no carpets but they were told by the manufacturers that some accident to the dye had prevented them from having the carpets ready in time.

There were many things to be done in connection with the cafe and other parts of the building, but they hoped to have everything in full swing by Whitsuntide. (Applause.)
The Mayor said it gave him very great pleasure to be present. It was his privilege to congratulate the directors and the management upon the erection of that magnificent building, which he thought would be both an attraction and an asset to that beautiful borough (Hear, hear).

In situation and equipment he regarded it, even in its incomplete state, as ideal. One thing that he liked about the Coliseum was that it provided a welcome addition to the not too ample shelter in squally weather at holiday time. Municipal and private enterprise working side by side in a progressive borough made for progress. (Cheers.) As the head of a Corporation having entertainment enterprises of its own, he might say very kindly that it was true that they might be rivals, but that their rivalry would be of a very friendly order indeed, and only in the sense that they were both out to cater for the pleasure of the residents and the visitors to Bridlington.

Might he say also that they welcomed private enterprise in Bridlington, and no matter into what part of the borough they looked, they would see development. He thought he was correct in saying that they could boast of as much new building in Bridlington at the moment as any town in the north of England, and considering the depressing trade conditions through which they have been passing, he thought that spoke well for the borough. (Hear, hear.)

Another thing he would like to say was that they were very proud of their local tradesmen, and without wishing in any way to single anyone out, he should like to say how much they appreciated the enterprise, efficiency, and business management of Mr Turner, who had put so much hard work into the completion, up to date, of that building. It spoke well for their local tradesmen that they were able to carry out the erection of so magnificent a building without having to go to Manchester or any other place to get it done. (Applause.)

In conclusion, might he bespeak success for the directorate, the shareholders, the management, and all connected with the Coliseum, and whether they be connected with public or private enterprise, as they each in their separate ways climbed the hill of prosperity, may they never meet anyone coming down. He had very great pleasure in declaring the building open. (Applause.)

A capital pictorial entertainment followed a nicely diversified programme of films, of both an amusing and instructive character, being shown. There were some grand animal pictures, whilst one of much educational value described "How the telephone speaks."

The chief attraction, however, was the screen version of the stage success, The Sign on the Door, featuring Norma Talmadge, the thrilling picture drama riveting the
attention of the large audience from start to finish.


A continuous exhibition was given, and about a quarter to nine the programme had been gone through. Patrons who had seen the full fare were then requested to give up their seats to newcomers, and a ready response was made to the appeal. The star picture, The Sign on the Door, was duly screened, and almost as soon as the lights in the hall were turned out a noise was heard coming from the direction of the pit.

A small flame burst forth from one of the side exit door lights, and some people rapidly made for the other doors. The flare gradually died out, but just as some were returning to their seats the light was again seen.

A second rush to the door was made by a few people, but as the first were about to leave the hall a gentleman ascended the stage and requested the company to sit down and keep cool. Several returned to their seats at once, but others not so confident hovered round the door for some time.

Eventually all became seated again and endeavoured to pick up the thread of the film story, which by the way, had been showing through- out. Captain Hunter explained that all that had happened was that an electric wire had fused. This was a thing that might occur in any place, and every precaution was taken in this building in case of tire. An alarm whistle would be blown and all the exit doors would then be thrown open. He requested patrons to keep to their seats in the future, and he assured them everything would be done for their safety. The building was composed or such materials as  to render a fire very unlikely.


From Bridlington Amusement Guide, week commencing Monday, 3rd July, 1922:


From Bridlington Free Press, 29th March, 1924

Coliseum Ltd. sold to a new company, Winter Gardens (Bridlington) Ltd. (No. 196605).

From Ward Lock & Co. Illustrated Guide Book. 1927-28

Entertainments: The Coliseum, one of the finest entertainment halls in the district, contains an up-to-date theatre and picture hall, a spacious ballroom, a cafe, and a roof cafe. It was erected at a cost of 70,000.

Picture: Four butter/jam dishes purchased in July 2000 from Grannie's Parlour, Anlaby Road, Hull, for 2.00 each.

It was the discovery of these dishes that prompted the research into the Coliseum.

Mike Wilson