A D Haxton, Leven, completed 1938; internal decoration by John Alexander, Newcastle; later additions and internal alterations. Near rectangular-plan, Art Deco former cinema set on sloping site with symmetrical 3-storey, 5-bay entrance front grouped, 1-3-1. Minor additions to sides and rear. Painted cement stucco to front with fan-shaped decorative motifs; marble dressings; painted harl to sides and rear. Channelled ashlar base course in part to front; stepped and painted parapets. Interior includes important plaster panels by John Alexander.
S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical front comprising curved steps with chequered inlay accessing 3-bay entrance; wheelchair access incorporated to right; glazed, 2-leaf timber doors in each bay (full-height marble panels set between); replacement full-width, flat-roofed canopy above. Large windows centred at 1st and 2nd floors (squat at 2nd floor); flanking single windows; stylised giant order pilasters dividing bays, panelled aprons between floors. 'REGAL' raised letter signage centred beneath stepped parapet. 2-storey pavilion blocks projecting to outer right and left, with windows centred at both floors with full-height surrounds incorporating both openings, decorative aprons between floors, stylised keystones breaking eaves. Square windows set behind each pavilion at second floor.
E (SIDE) ELEVATION: irregular fenestration to left at entrance block; auditorium block adjoined to right with central stair projection; single storey block to outer right.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: gable end with lower, advanced piended block with canted lower addition to centre.
W ELEVATION: irregular fenestration. Single storey block to outer left.
Predominantly small-paned opaque glazing; decorative stained glass to 1st floor. Late 20th century corrugated metal roof.
INTERIOR: original decorative scheme in place. Later alterations to form small theatre space in auditorium compatible with original function of building. Later insertion of office/meeting room at balcony level. Original plan still discernable and components of lobby, flanking stairs to balcony and 1st floor bar area in relation to auditorium intact. Decorative terrazzo flooring to lobby, compartmental ceiling with decorative plasterwork; timber doors. Chequered inlay to stair treads, veneered walnut dado panelling. 1st floor bar above lobby with glazed, 2-leaf timber doors; veneered walnut panelled walls to picture rail height; compartmental ceiling; original stained glass windows. Former cinema to rear of plan with moulded plaster surround to proscenium; coffered ceiling with sunken panels embossed with decorative strapwork. Large 3-dimensional fibrous plaster grilles flanking stage (above exits), each with stylised frame enclosing Roman charioteers. Balcony converted to office. Small exhibition space now to ground and 1st floors.
Statement of Special Interest
This former cinema is a good example of a provincial cinema, retaining a fine Art Deco decorative scheme to the interior and exterior and occupying a prominent site in the centre of the town. The cinema remains structurally intact, despite later alterations. John Alexander's fine decorative scheme, in particular the outstanding modelled plaster panels, are rare, being one of only two extant examples of this craftsman's work in the UK (the other at the Northwick Cinema, Worcester).
Alexander (1888-1874) was a Newcastle-based designer, who specialised in flamboyant interiors for restaurants, ballrooms and cinemas, combining boldly modelled plaster work, decorative carpets, upholstery and curtains, ornate paint schemes and dramatic lighting.
This is the finest remaining example of A D Haxton's (1878-1960) cinema designs. Between 1914 and 1955, Haxton's practice worked extensively designing cinemas in Fife and West Lothian of which only 3 survive but in much altered form.
In use as a community theatre since 1995.
List description updated and category changed from C(S) to B as part of the Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.