Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

52-62 (EVEN NOS) RENFIELD STREET, ODEON CINEMA AND SHOPSLB49233

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
29/05/2003
Local Authority
Glasgow
Planning Authority
Glasgow
Burgh
Glasgow
NGR
NS 58924 65591
Coordinates
258924, 665591

Description

Frank Verity and Samuel Beverley, 1934. Massive Art Deco cinema occupying half a city centre block bounded by Renfield Street, West Regent Street, West Nile Street and West Regent Lane. Curved entrance facade to main block with projecting fins and elevation to Renfield Street, cream-painted stone; 6-storey articulated red brick block housing auditorium to rear of main block.

MAIN BLOCK: curved canopy above modern entrance at ground; 5 full height windows spanning 1st and 2nd floors with projecting fins between, flanking further bays and outer fins; 6 bay 2-storey block to Renfield Street above modern shopfronts; further curved block set back above corner to 4th and 5th floors.

REAR BLOCK: 5 blank bays to West Regent Street divided vertically by ribs, patterned brick detailing to wallhead; canopy over pavement. 6-storey block wrapping round corner to West Nile Street with floors divided by brick string courses, regular fenestration. Taller blank block to West Nile Street. Elevation to West Regent Lane with irregular fenestration and brick ribs.

INTERIOR: altered, see Notes.

Original metal-framed windows to main block; replacement windows to Renfield Street; original metal-framed pivot windows to brick elevations. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

Built to seat 2,800, Glasgow's Renfield Odeon (formerly the Paramount Cinema) was one of a new breed of super cinemas constructed in Britain in the 1930s. The American company Paramount employed prominent London architects Frank Verity and Samuel Beverley to construct these large luxurious cinemas in the major provincial cities. As well as building cinemas for other companies in London and elsewhere, the architects were responsible for Paramount cinemas in Manchester (1930), Newcastle (1931), Leeds (1932), Liverpool (1934), Glasgow (1934) and Birmingham (1937). This is the only cinema by Verity and Beverley to have been built in Scotland.

Cinema-going in Glasgow was hugely significant during the inter-war years. Cinemas were 'the building type most peculiarly identified with the Thirties, and Scotland had a particular affinity to them. Glasgow, with perhaps 120 cinemas in 1937, had more per head of population than any other city in the world' (McKean p63). The entrance corner of this particular cinema was noted for its dramatic 'night architecture' with neon strips illuminating the fins and outlining the brick block to the side. This device helped to unify the two distinct halves of the building (the lighting scheme was partially reinstated when the Odeon restored the cinema's exterior recently).

After the Second World War, Oscar Deutsch, the creator of the Odeon empire, acquired the Glasgow Paramount. In the 1960s the auditorium famously presented the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Glasgow audiences. In 1969 the auditorium was subdivided into three smaller cinemas and this conversion unfortunately obliterated the original Art Deco interior that included the tea-room above the entrance, the lavish foyers, lounges and the auditorium. However, the original plans survive (see References above) together with a complete inventory and description of the fixture and fittings from 1941 (see References above).

Still in use as a cinema today (April 2003), this building and others like it in Britain are under threat from multi-screen complexes located both out of town and, in a more recent trend, in close proximity. Original Art Deco architecture itself is a rarity in Glasgow and the Renfield Odeon and the former Cosmo Cinema (now Glasgow Film Theatre - separately listed) are the only two surviving operational cinemas left from this golden age in Glasgow.

References

Bibliography

City of Glasgow Dean of Guild plans dated 4.5.1935, index No 1935/165 (26 sheets). Verity GENERAL DESCRIPTION & INVENTORY OF GLASGOW PARAMOUNT THEATRE (1941) unpublished bound material, includes list of contents, interior and exterior photos, plans, cost of rebuilding; prepared in the event of damage by enemy action. Louden THE CINEMAS OF CINEMA CITY (1983) pp 42-51. McKean THE SCOTTISH THIRTIES (1987) pp63-74. McKean CENTRAL GLASGOW (1989) p106. Gray CINEMAS IN BRITAIN (1996). Information courtesy of David Butcher, Verity and Beverley Architects and Designers.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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