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- Category: C
- Date Added: 02/05/2007
- Local Authority: Falkirk
- Planning Authority: Falkirk
- Burgh: Grangemouth
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NS 92755 82109
- Coordinates: 292755, 682109
1913 with later alterations (see Notes). Early, purpose-built cinema fronted by near symmetrical, 7-bay Scots Renaissance style vestibule block with 2-storey ogee-roofed outer pavilions. Scotch-bond red brick with sandstone ashlar dressings; rendered brick auditorium. Base course; moulded cornice; blocking course. Tripartite openings with moulded margins and cills. Moulded pilasters dividing bays with obelisk-finials above parapet. Giant, Composite-order corner pilasters to pavilions.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: principal opening to centre bay; panel above inscribed 'Empire Electric Theatre' surmounted by ornate 17th century Scots Renaissance style scrolled and finialled swan-neck pediment. Moulded doorpieces to pavilions with broken segmental-arched pediments containing tablet-stones; tripartite windows at eaves level.
Plain auditorium block behind vestibule steps down slightly in height from left to right with bays marked out by brick pilasters. 1930s addition to East with cantilevered projection booth at upper level; irregular fenestration.
Fixed-pane timber-framed windows to principal elevation; metal-framed windows to W elevation. Grey slate to pavilion roofs. Clay cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: Plain auditorium, probably the result of remodelling after fires in 1952 and 1962. Further alterations following change of use to bingo hall in 1971. Curved rear balcony; segmental-arched ribbed ceiling; proscenium with cartouche detail. Void behind stage with evidence of rigging and elevated gantrys.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of the first wave of purpose-built cinemas constructed in Scotland following the introduction of the Cinematograph Act in 1910. Opened as the Empire Electric Theatre in December 1913 and renamed the La Scala three years later, it is a rare survivor of its type in Scotland. The earliest remaining example is the listed Hippodrome in nearby Bo'ness, which opened in March 1912 (see separate listing).
The La Scala occupies a prominent central location beside the Grangemouth Town Hall. The pavilioned vestibule section with its combination of red brick and Renaissance detailing is of particular note, providing considerable streetscape interest. The use of the Renaissance style is unusual in Scottish cinema design.
It is likely the interior has undergone at least one major set of alterations. The auditorium was partially rebuilt for sound in 1930 following the introduction of talking pictures. Richard Jaques suggests that this work may have been by architect Alistair G Macdonald, son of the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald. The void behind the stage suggests that the building may have originally been intended to also function as a traditional theatre. The auditorium held 655 seats at the height of the cinema's popularity during the 1940's.
3rd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1923). Richard Jaques, Falkirk and District, RIAS/Rutland Press (2001), pp116; John Gifford and Frank Walker, Buildings of Scotland - Stirling and Central Scotland (2002), pp81-82 and 532; www.scottishcinemas.org.uk (as accessed on 12.03.2007). Further information courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Scotland.
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