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- Category: C
- Date Added: 27/08/2004
- Local Authority: South Ayrshire
- Planning Authority: South Ayrshire
- Burgh: Prestwick
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 35148 25872
- Coordinates: 235148, 625872
Alister G MacDonald, 1934-5. 2-storey, 5-bay, flat-roofed, Art Deco entrance block of former cinema with pitched-roof auditorium behind. Principal elevation stepped up towards centre with entrance bay recessed between convex curved wings and shops at ground floor. Rendered bricks and synthetic stone on steel frame. Base course; projecting canopy over entrance; string course; 1st floor windows set in slightly recessed band strip; coped wallhead.
E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 4 2-leaf glazed timber entrance doors with Art Deco glazing pattern and narrow lying-pane glazed fanlights to central recessed entrance with marble floor tiles and projecting canopy; tall block above with 3 windows and raised wallhead. Slightly lower curved bays advanced to each side with shop fronts at ground and windows at 1st floor; recessed blocks above, rising to same height as centre. Fully intact shop front to No 78 (right of centre) with curved glass and lying-pane glazing; altered shop front to No 82 (left of centre). Single storey shops to outer right and left retaining some original glazing; full-height wall recessed behind.
REAR: large gabled brick auditorium.
Lying-pane and plate glass glazing; some later replacements.
INTERIOR: seen (2008). Original layout largely intact with some later alterations. Art Deco decoration with some unusual decorative features. Timber panelling to many areas, including stairwells and former café area. Dado-height decorative stepped panelling to auditorium. Unusual camel design to air vents. Some fixed-pane metal windows to interior spaces. Some decorative cornicing; timber panelled doors with small inset glass panels and stylised stepped triangular decorative architraves. Later squash courts inserted into auditorium.
Statement of Special Interest
Former cinema which makes a positive contribution to the streetscape of the main thoroughfare in Prestwick. It is built to a bold Art Deco design with a strong horizontal emphasis balanced by the height of the central recessed block. The 1st floor of the building is stepped up and back from the street line so that it could be flood-lit. The design is similar to the Playhouse cinema in Perth that was built a year earlier by the architect A Cattanach and also has curved side wings, a tall recessed central block, and shops flanking the entrance. The shop fronts at the Broadway are a particularly good survival, especially No 78 which appears to be complete; the other shops (numbers 76,82 and 84) all retain some original (or near-contemporary) glazing. The entrance doors to the cinema also retain their original Art Deco glazing. The rather stark appearance of the cinema at present (2004) belies its original glamorous design. The base course and window band are built of red brick that would not have originally been painted, and the central block originally had three further windows above the existing three. A contemporary report, quoted by Rob Close in his letter to 'Picture House' describes the cinema as: 'Built partly of synthetic stone of local construction and bright bricks, [it] presents a mild red and white appearance which is eye-taking without being blatant'. The cinema opened in 1935 and was built for the Prestwick Cinema Company Ltd. It became a bingo hall in 1966.
The architect, Alister Gladstone MacDonald, specialised in cinema design, and had offices in both London and Edinburgh. He built a number of cinemas in Scotland, but his most innovative designs were for the 'Newsreel Cinemas' at Waterloo and Victoria stations in London. He was the eldest son of the first Labour Prime Minister, James Ramsay MacDonald.
Currently disused, 2008.
List description updated as part of Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.
Further information courtesy of Cinema Theatre Association Scotland www.scottishcinemas.org.uk (accessed 31-12-07).
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