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MEMORIES
 
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 Coatbridge and villages Cinema History

See Airdrie Cinemas

See Slideshow of Cinema Programmes below

 

The Cinema in Bank St (c1920)
opened 1913 closed and demolished mid 1960s.

 

 The Theatre Royal in Main St. C1905
opened as a live theatre in1875 was the venue for professional variety acts, changed to a full time cinema 1938,
closed 09/08/1958 and demolished 1966.

In Andrew Miller's 'The Rise and Progress of Coatbridge' he writes:- "The Adelphi Theatre, which may now be considered an established institution, was erected in September 1863. The proprietors are Messrs David Prince Miller and Walter Edwin. The structure is built of wood and stands on that site locally known as "Robin Boss`s Haugh." The whole building is 120 feet long by 45 feet broad, and fitted up with a gallery, pit, and side boxes, giving accommodation to about 1500 of an audience. The stage is 30 x 45 feet, well fitted up, with internal arrangements for machinery etc.'

Tthe Theatre Royal opened in September 1875. The detailed descriptions of it in the Glasgow Herald on its opening day conveys an idea of its size: - "The theatre is 100 feet long and 52 feet wide, with seating for 2000, and space for 500 more... in its pit, two horse-shoe shape galleries, the circle also having boxes at the rear.

It was a busy venue for pantomime, dramas, and variety, and received annual visits from the Arthur Lloyd's Company in the 1880s and 90s. In 1907 when Fred Karno`s Mumming Brothers appeared they included a young Charlie Chaplin.

On October 1890 a special meeting of the Coatbridge Dean of Guild Court was held to review an accident at the Theatre Royal on 18th October when part of the gallery collapsed due to dry rot,

The members, consisting of Dean of Guild Wilson, Vice Dean Thomas Gilchrist, Mr Mitchell (master of works}, and Mr John. M. Alston (town clerk), visited the scene of the accident. Leaving this, a most minute examination of the supports on the other landings was made. All were more or less affected with rot, and, under the circumstances, the Court had no alternative but to declare that the wood in every case should be removed and that iron girders must be substituted; that the gallery should be closed in the meantime; and that after these alterations had been carried out an examination of the theatre should be made. The interior of the Theatre was later reinstated after a fire in 1900.

In 1938 the Royal changed to being a cinema until its closure in August 1958, being demolished in 1966.

Below is a poster of the Theatre Royal - courtesy of John White collection

 


 Another view of The Theatre Royal in Main St.

Notice the barbers shop on the left? I still hear the story of numerous boys getting money for a haircut and using it to go the Theatre Royal instead!
3d (1p) for the wooden-benched Hens Roost balcony
.


The Garden cinema in Whifflet where generally there was more action in the stalls than on the screen. Opened as Garden with a small circle. Had nearly 1000 seats. Closed 1960s.  see Programs


The Regal cinema off the Fountain way opened 1936 seating 1958 patrons, closed 1983 now a snooker hall 


The Odeon - c1955

The Empire - between the unemployment office (the Dole) (the Buroo),   East End Timber, and the Telephone Exchange - opened October 1912 as a live theatre. It became mainly a cinema in 1920 when it was bought by the Singleton circuit who later sold it in 1936 to the Odeon group.  It was renamed the Odeon, closed September 1976 and demolished.
Odeon C1949
courtesy of mawgrim


The BBs (BB Picture House) in Water St closed circa 1956 -demolished  The space was replaced by Galbraith's Supermarket
The entrance for BBs would have been on Water St - to left of the Supermarket.

Bennell's name will always be associated with the famous 'BB Pictures' (Bright and Beautiful). He originated from Manchester, becoming a travelling salesman for Sidney Carter's Pictures during the early 1900s, before deciding to enter into business on his own, choosing Scotland as his base. On the 23rd December 1907 Bennell opened Wellington Palace, Commercial Road, Glasgow as his first exhibition of Animated Pictures, and BB Pictures was launched.

A hallmark of the BB's were his special sound effects from behind the screen, such as the use of car horns and coconuts (horses hooves!!). He also read out dialogue from the side of the screen for the benefit of the audience. BB Pictures was soon to be hailed as a Glasgow favourite especially amongst children. Bennell extended his number of premises to include the Gaiety Theatre at Anderston Cross, Glasgow, the Palace and the Empire in Dundee, all in 1909 and later to Edinburgh, Airdrie, Perth and Greenock. His programmes, which he chose himself, were associated with quality, and film such as The Rent Collector and If Women Were Policemen were shown with additional explanatory notes by Bennell. He was also known for providing a good deal of variety to the shows he offered.

He was considered to have been one of the great initiators of the Saturday Matinee which attracted audiences of 2-3000 to his afternoon shows at Wellington Palace. The children's performances began with singing the BB Pictures song:

"BB Pictures, they're alright
Come and see them every night
We will sing with all our might
BB Pictures they're alright".

Courtesy of Scottish screen archives

 

Some 1954/1954 programs for The Cinema, The Garden (Whifflet Cinema),  New Cinema Airdrie -

Glenboig Cinema

The Glenboig Cinema closed in 1958 and lay empty until 1960 when it was taken over by A Gray and Son - to be used as their company premises

 


Cinema programs supplied by Sam McCabe


Article and information supplied by Tom Frew

 
 

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