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HALL STREET, THE PICTURE HOUSE (Ref:22965)

This building is in the Argyll And Bute Council and the Campbeltown Burgh. It is a category A building and was listed on 15/11/1989.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NR 72088 20367.

Description

Albert V Gardner of Glasgow, 1913 with some surviving 1935 'atmospheric' interior details (see Notes). Important and rare purpose-built cinema with unusual Glasgow School Art Nouveau treatment characterised by particularly unusual oval plan form surmounted by projection room belvedere. Brick with roughcast harl, painted white. Red fish-scale tiles. Probably 1930s gabled annexe attached to right.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: NE (HALL STREET) ELEVATION: Eliptical entrance tower section to centre; glazed screen at ground floor centre with 2-leaf etched glass entrance doors. Parapeted balcony above with 4 elliptical balusters, now enclosed by fixed, glazed screen wall. Horizontal brick bands to rear and sides of balcony area with green ceramic tile spacers. Above, wide-brimmed eliptical roof rising to oval projection room belvedere with horizontal glazed openings and tiled mansard. Outer bays pilastered with square ceramic tile to top of each vertical recess and pair of elliptical windows centred below eaves. Plain roughcast to rear and side elevations. ANNEXE: gable end to Hall Street, full width glazed entrance at ground floor with concrete steps. Timber and lead canopy over; elliptical window to gablehead.

Fixed 8-pane glazing to timber windows in pair of elliptical openings. Red fish-scale tiles, corrugated sheet roof over auditorium. Grey slate roof with timber bargeboards to annexe. Lead gutter at eaves of main elliptical roof, cast-iron gutters and downpipes elsewhere.

INTERIOR: auditorium with ashlar-effect tiling to walls and rendered pilaster strips; raked balcony and floor, curved ceiling over. Seating acquired from separate sources in late 1950s/early 1960s and recovered 1988/89. Flanking screen: to right, half-timbered 'wee house' decoration supported on corbels with pantile roof and castellated tower and to left, Spanish Classical style mission house. Fringed pelmet over screen. Multiple spotlights to ceiling. Elliptical projection room reached by vertical ladder through floor hatch.

Notes

The Campbeltown Picture House is an important and rare example of an early purpose-built cinema. It is one of the earliest surviving purpose-built cinemas in the UK and also the only example in Scotland of this first wave of cinema building still in use as such. Stylistically, the building is highly distinctive with a strong streetscape presence overlooking Campbeltown Harbour. The exterior treatment is Glasgow School Art Nouveau and it uses a combination of concentric ovals in plan form and multiple verticals to the principal elevation. The use of this style, including the use of roughcast harl, is very uncommon in cinema design. Its interior is of equal significance. It retains elements of a 1935 'atmospheric' refurbishment, undertaken by Gardner (the original architect). These alterations show an important developmental step within cinema architecture by inserting atmospheric scenery into the auditorium. Known locally as "wee houses", the pair of houses flanking the screen, one a Spanish mission style house and the other a half-timbered structure with pantile roof and castellated tower, are of particular interest and are probably the last of their type to survive in Scotland. The cinema is also one of the few cinemas whose interior remains undivided, allowing films to be seen from the stalls or balcony. Renowned Glasgow-based architect, Albert Gardner specialised in cinema design, building more than 25 throughout Scotland during the early 20th century. The Campbeltown Picturehouse is one of only four of his cinemas surviving in some form and the only one currently still in use as such (2007). His design for the building was unique, based around a series of concentric ovals, the highest and narrowest of which consisted of the projection box, with a larger oval below at balcony level. The Campbeltown Picturehouse was built as part of the first wave of British picture houses constructed after the Cinamatograph Act was passed in 1910. The act stipulated that the projection equipment had to be physically separated from the auditorium in order to protect the audience from the risk of fire, due to the flammability of nitrate film. Less than 10 purpose-built cinemas constructed in Scotland prior to the outbreak of the First World War are thought to survive. As a developmental stage within the history of this building type, these first purpose-built cinemas are of particular significance. List description updated and category changed from B to A as part of the Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.

References

Campbeltown Courier (26.5.1913). Norman S Newton 'The Wee Pictures - A History of the Picture House (Campbeltown) Ltd' (1989). Bruce Peter 'Clyde Coast Picture Palaces' (2000) p48. Frank A Walker 'The Buildings of Scotland - Argyll and Bute' (2000) p158. Further information courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association.

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).