La Scala, Helensburgh

8 James St, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, G84 8AS

Architect: Neil C Duff   Listing: C-Listed (1993)   No of Seats: 600

Status: Closed as Cinema – Building Repurposed as Pub   Opened: 1913   Closed: 1984

Other information: Opened 12.13 by Helensburgh Picture House Company (La Scala, Glasgow) in purpose built hall. Arch. Neil C Duff. s. 600. Subdivided into 3 sections, 1984. Cinema section cl. 1984. Amusements in foyer area and snooker club upstairs continued for a while. Now derelict. C(S)-listed.

The La Scala opened in December 1913, originally seating about 600. The auditorium was largely stadium in style, with narrow slips leading to the screen from the rear stalls. A tiny balcony consisted just of 5 private boxes, while films were projected from the back of the stalls. The original screen was 20ft x 15ft, surrounded by a curved proscenium.

Talkies were shown from 1930, and the cinema continued largely unchanged until the early 1980s, when the building was split to create a snooker hall on a newly created upper floor, and a small cinema at the rear of the building.

The cinema closed in 1984, but snooker continued, accompanied by amusements, until the 1990s.

La Scala was C(s)-listed by Historic Scotland in 1993. Of the original features, at the time of writing, only portions of the ceiling decoration and some stained glass windows on the facade were known to survive.

Sadly the plans described on for a possible re-opening and use of the building as a community resource and cinema have come to nothing, and planning permission was recently granted for a change of use for restaurant/entertainment use, and work began on the conversion for this in August 2006. The building re-opened as the pub The Logie Baird on Wednesday 11th of April 2007.

Many thanks to Phil Worms for his photos and assistance.

Clyde Coast Picture Palaces, Peter, 2000

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