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- Category: B
- Date Added: 12/12/1974
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 24777 73469
- Coordinates: 324777, 673469
JS Richardson and JR Mackay, 1922, and John McKissack, 1928. Monumental entrance to former cinema in projecting bay to right (Richardson and Mackay, 1922); mansard roof with pedimented dormer and recessed palazzo wing with projecting shops to ground to left (McKissack, 1928). Coursed ashlar (painted at ground and 1st floors to right). Doric Triumphal Arch (over 2 storeys) to right with pilasters framing paired 2-leaf glazed timber doors (carved rosettes) in decorative surrounds under canopy to centre and (painted over) outer bays; stained glass (1928) and decorative metalwork in round-headed arch; tripartite window in pedimented dormerhead to attic, flanked by single flat-topped dormers. Cornice and stepped blocking course above shops; string course at 2nd; moulded eaves cornice and blocking course, raised and decoratively stepped to outer left bay. Modern 2-leaf timber door in moulded surround to outer left bay; narrow window at 1st floor flanked by pilaster strips; inscribed decorative cartouche (CALEY) above. Modern shop-fronts; consoled and pedimented architraves to 1st floor windows (2nd from right blind); small windows to 2nd in moulded surrounds.
INTERIOR: Classical Modern and Art Deco interior decorative scheme with original 1920s plan still intact. Glazed oak doors to vestibule with Art Deco stained glass fanlights; Rococo plasterwork domed ceiling to oak panelled foyer with later box to left of plan (2008); original lift to auditorium to far right of foyer with original sliding oak doors on chain track. Oak panelled principal stair to SE of foyer, square plan carved newel post with 2 letter Cs (Caley Cinema) flanking gargoyle face, hardwood banister. Arched proscenium with exaggerated reeded classical pilasters and central Rococo foliate cartouche to centre; sunburst plaster panels flanking arch with elaborate Art Deco grilles. Rectangular vents to auditorium walls and ceilings framed with classical foliate plasterwork. Original balcony with later access stairs and modern bar area to uppermost section of balcony.
Small-pane glazing in metal frames. Grey slates. Scrolled skews and stepped stacks to projecting block to right.
Statement of Special Interest
1928 block on the site of the former Commercial Hotel and Tavern; it is an interesting precursor to classical Art Deco architecture. Although assymetrical in arrangement the façade displays the adept handling of classical Beaux-Arts detailing.
The cinema was opened in January 1923 in a partial conversion of an older building. It was later enlarged for talkies in 1928. Closed as a cinema in 1984 and later used as a nightclub. Refurbished in 2008 and opened as Edinburgh Picture House, a performance venue.
References and notes updated as part of the Cinemas Thematic Study 2007-08. List description further updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.
Dean of Guild 21st March 1921 and 9th March, 1922. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1984) p 268. Dick Peddie and McKay Collection, original drawings, NMRS. Cinema Theatre Association, www.scottishcinemas.org.uk (2008).
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