Stretford Mall
A masterplan for the regeneration of the mall is being drawn up by Bruntwood

Essoldo cinema set for Stretford return

Dan Whelan

A fresh guise of the 1930s Stretford cinema could find a semi-permanent home on the top floor of Stretford Mall car park, if plans from an outdoor events company are approved by the local council.

Spirit of the Essoldo, founded in 2019, has applied to use the fourth level of the shopping centre’s multistorey car park as a bar and outdoor cinema based on the Art Deco Essoldo cinema designed by Henry Elder, which opened in 1936. 

The space would “incorporate a range of leisure uses for local people” for a period of two years, according to a planning statement, and it follows a successful trial of a pop-up Spirit of the Essoldo cinema at Stretford Mall last March. 

Under the plans, a bar would be constructed alongside covered seating, with the lift shaft elevation used as a screen on to which to project films. The space would have capacity for 60 people and include community gardening and public art installations.

The company has asked that the permission last for two years, with the bar to be open for six months a year. 

If the plans are approved, Spirit of the Essoldo would screen films one weekend a month during the period.  

Spirit of the Essoldo is run by Heather Garlick, founder of The Sip Club, a Stretford bar located above an estate agent on the corner of Barton Road and Kings Way that has forged a strong reputation as a community hub. 

Last October, the car park at Stretford Mall was transformed into a temporary roller park for one day, another event organised by Garlick. 

The art deco Essoldo building was converted into a bingo hall in 1965 before closing for good 30 years later. 

Place North West reported in January that the building, which sits opposite the mall, could be revamped as part of the Stretford Mall masterplan being drawn up by Bruntwood.

An outline application for the regeneration of the area was scheduled for submission this summer, but has been pushed back due to the coronavirus lockdown and subsequent cancellation of a second consultation with the public.

The council and Bruntwood are exploring the option of an online consultation while social distancing measures remain in place.

Andrew Cooke, director of Manchester at Bruntwood Works said: “Heather and the team at Spirit of the Essoldo have held a number of successful community events at Stretford Mall over the past 12 months and along with our partners at Trafford Council we’re keen to support future events from the group.

“While subject to planning, the ideas outlined by Spirit of the Essoldo would add a new dimension to Stretford Mall, bring the largely unused car park into use and really complement the retail, food and leisure offer for the benefit of the whole community.”

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Just another dealing area there openly doing it now near the old post office for the last 2 year’s police/ council turning a blind eye but who cares it’s only stretford wake up you good people before your house prices falls off the cliff

By Kelly may

I just don’t understand why the old cinema cannot be restored. There are no local cinemas, u have to travel to Trafford Centre or Manchester city centre. I would much rather go to a local cinema, especially such an iconic one as the Essoldo.

By Tracey

This is the sort of stuff that you really couldn’t make up. There is a perfectly good cinema, made as a cinema, waiting to be used back again as a cinema with exactly the same name as the newly planned cinema across the road. This historical cinema is a beautiful local legend that everyone in town would love it to return to being used as a cinema while the new one will just be some faceless forgettable compromise.

Before anyone says there is not enough room for all the extra things like bars etc, there is an empty plot next to it.

Before anyone says it’s at the wrong side of the street. Streets can be crossed. There are lots of ways.

This is exactly where the council should step in and say enough is enough.


About time
STRETFORD needs this..

Good luck..

By John messina

@EOD ‘perfectly good’ it’s been closed for years, have you been inside? I doubt it’s fit for public and lacks basic facilities. This proposal is a pop up cinema which was trialled last year by Heather, it would take a few weeks to set up and cost a fraction compared to sorting the derelict building across the road. Be realistic.

By CityCentre

I think this is a great idea, particularly in the current climate. Outdoor events are absolutely the way to go. Someone could make a killing for a drive in cinema!

Realistically nobody is going to take a punt on recommissioning the Essoldo in the current climate.
This is a super compromise.

Good luck guys

By Greg Barnes

I went in this Stretford mall shopping centre 3times last year, it was about 50% full of shops, basically full of “to let signs” in shop windows and I thought Salford precinct was bad. I remember it about 22 years ago when it had about 95% of the shops were full and it had a okay indoor market and thousands and thousands people shopping there everyday.. I wonder what happened .. Oh the Trafford centre opened 22 years ago and took half its footfall away and the ASDA at Trafford centre and the TESCO on Chester rd in Stretford took away footfall. This Stretford mall is depressing, bulldoze it and build more expensive flats, no sorry apartments for the class yuppies.. That’s it.

By Darren born and bred in Salford

All – the Essoldo is in private ownership since 1997 and, despite many promises, the owner refuses to sell or do anything with the building.

By Stretfordian

This is a great idea. I love it when local people… who don’t have a lot of money rise to the challenge of making their community better. Good luck guys and I for one will help with some of my own money if you need support.

By David A

Love the idea but have you checked to see what if anything is being done to either re-vamp Stretford Mall or pulling it down due to the lack of shops in the centre. The inside needs sorting out first

By Brenda Briggs

Seen lots of publicity regarding the revamp of Stretford but when and where does it all start to happen ? Too much talking and not enough doing

By Fredthered