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Capital&Centric transform Stoke-on-Trent signal box into pop-up cinema

Published: Monday, 20th March 2023

OVER a hundred film-lovers descended on a former railway signal box in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend as Capital&Centric opened the doors to the Goods Yard.

The neighbourhood may still be a construction site, but that didn’t stop the social impact developers safely staging a pop-up mini cinema for one weekend only.

It gave visitors a glimpse inside the historic Glebe Street signal box – to which the doors have remained locked since the 1990s.

People enjoyed popcorn, drinks and DJ sets before the duo of screenings. The Friday crowd saw the sentimental and Bafta Award-winning ‘Marvellous’, the true story of local legend and Stoke City FC kit man Neil Baldwin. Then the spooky industrial setting was perfect for fright after fright at The Conjuring screening on Saturday.

It’s all part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the developer’s approach to getting people involved at the site, set to become a buzzing neighbourhood with homes, shops, cafes, bars, workspaces and gardens.

Tom Wilmot, Joint Managing Director at Capital&Centric, said:

“We’ve a long way to go at the Goods Yard before people can see the finished neighbourhood, but we couldn’t resist opening up the site early for people to experience what it’s like in its raw state. In time, it’ll be a café bar or restaurant. For now, we’ve stripped the layers and layers of paint back inside the space and will be preserving as much as the original character as we can.

“The weekend marked the first time there’s ever been a crowd of people in the Signal Box, meeting new people and having a top time at the charity mini cini. A big thanks to those that turned out and continue to show an interest as we work our magic on the Goods Yard.

“Seeing people enjoying themselves on site spurs us on even more to deliver a creative neighbourhood that locals can be really proud of.”

 

Proceeds from the Goods Yard mini cini are being donated to the Macari Foundation, a local charity helping to support those at risk of homelessness in Stoke-on-Trent.

And Capital&Centric is already cooking up their next event, with the aim of getting the local community involved and interested in the Goods Yard’s future as development unfolds on site.

Cllr Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“It was fantastic to see people enjoying themselves and getting involved in Goods Yard. The unique Signal Box venue and first time use as a pop-up cinema was a real taster of what’s to come. This buzz of excitement will continue as new facilities take shape with more exciting events in the pipeline.

“It’s great to be working with a creative and inclusive developer such as Capital&Centric who is keen to make an impact in Stoke-on-Trent and share the potential of Goods Yard with local people.

“Regeneration is about enjoying the journey as well as the new buildings to come. It’s so important that the community see and are part of the changes and events like this really help to galvanise this.

“Once completed, this destination will offer great leisure choices, new homes, an attractive environment as well as new jobs and space for new businesses.”

 

Work to deliver the £60m neighbourhood is progressing well. Beneath the site lies the locally-listed vaulted warehouse, once used as canalside storage space for industry. Contractors are currently removing part of a mezzanine floor added at a later date to the warehouse. When complete, it’ll reveal the original double-height warehouse and stunning vaulted ceilings for the first ever time.

Once complete, Goods Yard will be packed with 174 new design-led homes for rent; edgy work spaces; indie bars, cafes and shops; and stacks of green outdoor space open to the public.