Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 92755 82109
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; (as accessed on 12.03.2007). Further information courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Scotland.

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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 You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 05/12/2023 05:01