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Campbeltown Picture House
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Campbeltown Picture House

Please note: Campbeltown Picture House is currently closed to the public. It's undergoing redevelopment phase and will re-open in 2016. In the meantime, monthly film shows are held at the Victoria Hall in Campbeltown. See www.campbeltownpicturehouse.co.uk for the programme.

The Campbeltown Picture House is the oldest continuously run, purpose-built cinema in Scotland still showing films. Standing on the palm tree-lined Hall Street, it's a familiar sight to anyone who has either lived in or visited Campbeltown; few people know just how remarkable a building it is.

Early days

The cinema was built in 1913 with the investment of 40 shareholders, mostly local businessmen. This was Campbeltown in its heyday, when steamers ran between the town and Glasgow taking the most successful local businessmen into the heart of commercial Scotland. Glasgow was an early adopter of cinema and there was soon talk of one coming to Campbeltown. And it wasn’t long before Glasgow architect Albert V Gardner was invited to come and build one of the first purpose built cinemas. Purpose- built means the Picture House had its own separate projection room. This was a ‘modern’ addition following the Cinematograph Act of 1908. Before this Act was passed there had been instances of fires due to the nitrate film being so flammable!

The outside of the building is described as Glasgow Art Nouveau and inside there was seating for 650 people, (although today this has now been reduced to 265 seats).

Updated

Gardner came back in the 1930s to update the building. Along with enclosing the front of the cinema, two of the most iconic parts of the cinema were added. Known as the ‘wee houses’ they are part of the ‘atmospheric’ style which was popular at the time. This style was used to give the impression of being outdoors as you watched the film. These remain a source of fascination for anyone who’s visited the Picture House which is now one of only two atmospheric cinemas left in the UK.

Moving into a new age

The Picture House has had the front of the building made wind and watertight and has also had its roof replaced. And in its centenary year, in 2013, the directors announced a major renovation project which will see the interior of the building restored in a sympathetic 1930s style.

Campbeltown Picture House is incredibly important to architectural and cinema historians. It is a unique building, one of the few cinemas to only ever have functioned as a cinema.
Contact Information
T: 01586 553657
E: admin@weepictures.com
W: www.weepictures.co.uk
A: 26 Hall Street, Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, PA28 6BU
   
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