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Port Glasgow

Glasgow Road
Exterior, c2004 - courtesy of Graham Kelly

The ubiquitous AB King was chairman of a new company, set up in 1939, to replace the 1914 Palace cinema in Port Glasgow. The plans, originally for a cinema to be called the Eclipse to seat c.2000, were drawn up by architects Lennox and McMath, who had also designed cinemas such as the Johnstone Globe and the Glasgow New Bedford.

The exterior had a deep foyer block, with a 3-storey central section and boxy facade was punctuated by a series of narrow windows, and a centrally mounted, vertical PLAZA sign in an italic font.

Construction started in 1939, but was halted by the onset of war, leaving an empty shell. It was not completed until 1952, opening as the Plaza. Despite the delay in opening, the internal decoration was still very much in a 1930s style.

Main Foyer

Main Foyer

Balcony Foyer

Balcony Foyer

Four pairs of doors led into the entrance foyer, with waves of terrazzo decoration on the floor, and three signature cone-shaped light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. At either side of a main ticket
kiosk, stairs led up to the stalls (on the left) and the stalls and balcony (on the right). The spacious balcony foyer was originally appointed with tubular chromed-metal and leather settees. In the floor, the central compass-shaped feature in the wavy-patterned rubber floor was a nod to the town's sea-related heritage.

The ceiling and walls of the auditorium, decorated in peach tones, stepped down towards the screen, with concealed lighting behind the vertical pillars and roof alcoves. Curtains in turquoise with a floral border and picked out with butterflies opened to reveal the screen. Twin horizontal plaster-work strips with a thistle motif led from the sidewalls to the proscenium, and were mirrored by similar vertical strips on the ceiling.

Splay walls from balcony

Screen area from balcony

Balcony seating

Stalls and balcony front

The Plaza closed in 1972, and became a County bingo hall. As was their style, they covered the central portion of the facade with brown corrugated iron cladding bearing their logo. The stalls area was levelled and bingo tables installed, but the balcony was left untouched. Despite the rather rundown external appearance, the interior appears to have been well-maintained, as can be seen from the photo galleries.

The Plaza changed hands along with the rest of County's properties in early 2006, when it was sold to Gala Bingo. In September 2006, Gala were refurbishing the exterior of the building, and added their own signage to the facade, and also made other alterations, including replacing the original main doors. It's a pity the opportunity wasn't taken to remove the ugly corrugated iron covering the frontage at that time...

Exterior refurbishments, September 2006

Interior photo galleries below courtesy of Bruce Murray
Foyer Gallery
Auditorium Gallery
Projection room & other spaces Gallery

Town Hall

Seating for 1,500.
Image courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Archive (Tony Moss Collection)

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