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New designs for Carlisle's derelict Lonsdale Cinema building

It has been closed for four years but a student has brought Carlisle’s Lonsdale Cinema back to life.

Jenni Ivison, 25, of Denton Holme, has redesigned the Lonsdale for her final year interior design project.

She brought the derelict building on Warwick Road up to date to contain a theatre, a studio theatre, art gallery, bar and cafe.

Her show has been on display at Preston and will move to London’s Brick Lane Gallery this month.

The cinema in Warwick Road closed in 2006 and has been the subject of a vocal campaign to reopen it as a theatre and arts centre.

Jenni, a former pupil of Trinity School, said: “I used to go to the Lonsdale cinema even when the Vue opened on Botchergate.

“I preferred it and art deco is my favourite style of design.

“It took about three to four months to redesign it and I researched it on the internet and spoke to the Save the Lonsdale group. I also went to the records office and got some information from there.

“I’d like to present it to Carlisle City Council to show them just what could be done with the building. It’s such a shame to see it in its current state.”

Jenni re-designed the Lonsdale with two performance areas – including one for community groups. There would be a mezzanine level with rehearsal spaces and a cinema screen for the showing of art house films.

The idea for her project is to leave the real world behind and enter a new place where you can escape.

Jenni said: “As you enter the new Lonsdale you walk under a stained glass window of Carlisle castle. The walls from the foyer guide you round to the theatre bar.

“Walking through the main auditorium you go between two towers which are inspired by Carlisle Citadel – the old gates to the main city.”

The complex would be open during the day and there would be a shop selling local crafts. Jenni has just finished her BA (hons) in interior design and hopes to land a job in TV or theatre set design. She said: “I’m back in Carlisle for the summer and my priority is to find a job and learn to drive.”

The cinema in Warwick Road was stripped of its listed status earlier this year and now the owner, Manchester-based Empera Estates, says it is open to offers from potential buyers.

Campaigners say it could be the last real chance to save the art-deco building from demolition and create a long-awaited arts facility.

Carlisle City Council says it can’t afford to take on the Lonsdale project on its own because of the predicted running costs of up to £1m a year.

Have your say

The people that are calling for the lonsdale to be pulled down are not structural engineers are they what it is all about is doing the right thing for those who hold theater close to there hearts. one survey said it is a sound buileding.

Posted by David Butcher on 17 August 2013 at 03:54

It is a fact that tourism generates Carlisle should have more tourists. I don't know any tourists who go to a palce because it has a swimming baths. I don't know any tourist who go for a day's shopping and end the day with a swim. A theatre ir the cinema yes no ! And for all the subsidies for sport not chosen as a venue for the Olympics. What has the Portfolio Holder for Culture to say about that previous or otherwise !

Posted by Erica Holmes on 29 July 2010 at 21:28

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