St Andrews Cinemas - New Picture House
The New Picture House in St
Andrews opened in 1931. It has a long, narrow auditorium, with a
balcony and a barrel-vaulted ceiling. Designed by local architects Gillespie
and Scott, two dressing rooms were also provided to service a
reasonably deep stage, which until recently was used for local amateur
screen was added under the balcony in the early 1980s, and a third in the
other half of the rear stalls in 2002. In 2005, the seating was Screen
1 - 475 seats (in original circle and front stalls); Screen 2 - 124
seats, Screen 3 - 100 seats (both in original rear stalls).
main auditorium is decorated with a series of paintings of the local
area - including the cinema itself - and the embossed letters NPH (for
New Picture House) crown the proscenium.
Numerous original decorative
features remain intact in the building, including original doors and
signage, and remnants of the original gas secondary lighting system (no
As of July 2005, the balcony is currently being extended forward onto
the projecting roofs of the mini-screens below, to providing additional
luxury seating for the main screen.
House has a long outer foyer with an island paybox, leading
to a circular inner foyer with a domed ceiling, from which steps lead
up to the balcony.
The original cinema restaurant/cafe, situated
under the balcony rake and above the foyer, is now sublet as a
bar/restaurant, and accessed from a new entrance to the left of the
The cinema has an unusual exterior, which creates a
covered area over the pavement outside to shelter patrons waiting to
Along with the Campbeltown
, it is now one of only two cinemas
in Scotland where one can see a film from the best seats in the house -
at the front of a balcony... The New Picture House was listed Category B
by Historic Scotland in 2008.
||A full gallery of interior pictures from the New
Picture House can be found here.
Thanks to Paul Carey for allowing us access to the building.
Photo above and information courtesy of St Andrews Museum.
Opened in 1913. Showed the
latest silent films with live orchestral accompaniment for the ‘big’
films and during the tourist season. Sound was installed in 1929.
Competition came in the form of the New Picture House
on the opposite side of North Street in 1934.
|The Cinema House closed
suddenly in December 1979 when manager of 51 years, Mr Jack Humphries,
retired. The building was demolished in the early 1980s, and the
site is now occupied by now block of flats.
Picture above shows the fašade of The Cinema House with staff taken to
advertise the installation of sound in 1929. From right to left
are: Alex Gourlay (winder boy, later head projectionist), Charles
Findlay (projectionist), Jimmy Mitchell (projectionist), and Jack
Pictures on the left show (upper) the fašade of The Cinema House after
closure – building derelict in c.1980, and (lower) the site during
demolition - again courtesy of St. Andrews Museum.
Photos and information courtesy of St Andrews Museum.
The La Scala building was an
old Roman Catholic church formerly situated on the Scores (originally
erected c.1886). A corrugated metal and wood construction – known
locally as the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ – it was transported to the site on
James Street in three sections in 1909 [see photo above]. Officially
named the La Scala, it was town’s only cinema (but also used as dance
hall and roller skating rink) until The Cinema House opened its doors
in 1913. The La Scala building was later used as a fruit and
vegetable store but was demolished c.2001 and there are now flats on
Photo courtesy of Harry Rigby
specified, all photographs and other material copyright (c) 2001
- 2020 Gordon Barr and Gary Painter.
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