Architects

The architect for the Broadway was Alister G. MacDonald, a figure just as interesting as the cinema’s colourful Managing Director. MacDonald was the eldest son of Britain’s first-ever Labour Prime Minister, Ramsey MacDonald. Alister’s first cinema job was probably as Clerk of Works to Frank Verity for Paramount’s Plaza in London’s Regent Street in 1925-6. After a spell studying skyscrapers and sound insulation design in America, he went on to become the leading architect of newsreel cinemas in Britain. The skills he learned in the USA were to prove useful when it came to designing these small, compact news cinemas in cramped, awkward sites, such as railway stations. His most famous such designs were at Victoria and Waterloo Stations in London, although sadly his plans for a cinema in Glasgow’s Central Station were unrealised. He also built numerous conventional cinemas, most notably for the Caledonian Associated Cinemas group (CAC) in Scotland, including the Playhouses in Peebles, Montrose and Elgin (all 1932), as well as the Empire Cinema for the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park in 1938 – which was later moved to Lochgilphead, where it survives as a guesthouse.

Broadway, Prestwick

80 Main Street, Prestwick, South Ayrshire, KA9 1PA Architect: Alister G. MacDonald   Listing: C-Listed (2004)   No of Seats: Unknown Status: ...
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Playhouse, Peebles

60 High Street, Peebles, Scottish Borders, EH45 8SW Architect: Alistair G. MacDonald Listing: C-Listed (1995) No of Seats: 802 Status: ...
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Moray Playhouse, Elgin

High St, Elgin, Moray, IV30 1DJ Architect: Alister G. MacDonald   Listing: None   No of Seats: 1,522 Status: Open and Operational   Opened: ...
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La Scala, Glasgow

147-163 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EW Architect: Duff & McKissack / A MacDonald Listing: None / Unknown No of Seats: ...
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Empire Exhibition Cinema, Glasgow

Bellahouston Park, Paisley Rd West, Glasgow, GB41 Architect: Alister G MacDonald Listing: None No of Seats: 600 Status: Dismantled, moved ...
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Cinema, Grangemouth

Lumley Street, Grangemouth, Falkirk, FK3 8BL Architect: AG Macdonald Listing: None / Unknown No of Seats: Unknown Status: Unknown Opened: ...
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New Lyceum, Dumfries

High Street, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, DG2 7AD Architect: A MacDonald Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: ...
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(Angus) Playhouse, Montrose

John Street, Montrose, Angus, DD10 8LZ Architect: A MacDonald Listing: None No of Seats: 1, 037 Status: Demolished Opened: 1932 ...
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Empire, Lochgilphead

Union Street, Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute, PA31 8JS Architect: Alister G. MacDonald Listing: None No of Seats: 365 Status: Closed ...
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James McKissack was one of Scotland’s most prolific cinema architects. McKissack’s designs, spread throughout Central Scotland, reflected every significant new trend in British cinema design, from the earliest cinemas of the Edwardian period, inserted into existing shop units, to the most glamorous ‘super cinemas’ of the late-1930s, and even include Scotland’s first specialist ‘art house’ cinema – the Cosmo

[now GFT]

in Glasgow. Notwithstanding having produced so vast and significant a body of work, the details of McKissack’s remarkable life have largely been forgotten by architectural history and the majority of his designs have long since been demolished.

By piecing together surviving fragments of information about his life and works, this article aims to tell the forgotten story of James McKissack – Cinema Architect.

Vogue / Odeon, Rutherglen

60 Main Street, Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, G73 2HY Architect: James McKissack Listing: C-Listed (2005) No of Seats: 1,750 Status: Closed, ...
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La Scala / Gaumont, Hamilton

Keith Street, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, ML3 7BL Architect: James McKissack   Listing: B-Listed (1979)   No of Seats: 1,297 Status: Building at Risk  ...
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Embassy / George, Troon

32 Portland Street, Troon, South Ayrshire, KA10 6QU Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: ...
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Picture House / Regal, Renfrew

2 Station Rd, Renfrew, Renfrewshire, PA4 8RP Architect: Unknown / McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 800 Status: Closed as ...
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Regal / ABC, Paisley

Corner of High Street and Lady Lane, Paisley, Renfrewshire, PA1 2AY Architect: CJ McNair (McKissack?) Listing: None No of Seats: ...
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Kyle / George, Irvine

Bank Street, Irvine, North Ayrshire, KA12 Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: 1939 Closed: ...
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Vogue, Glasgow

251 Langlands Road (crossing with Crossloan Road), Glasgow, G51 4AN Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 2,500 Status: ...
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Riddrie / Vogue, Glasgow

726 Cumbernauld Road, Glasgow, G33 2JU Architect: James McKissack Listing: B-Listed (2008) No of Seats: 1,750 Status: Closed as Cinema ...
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Mecca / Vogue, Glasgow

124 Balmore Road, Possil, Glasgow, G22 6LJ Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,620 Status: Closed as a ...
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Kingsway, Glasgow

1235 Cathcart Road, Glasgow, G42 Architect: James McKissack Listing: B-Listed (before demolition) No of Seats: 1,432 Status: Demolished Opened: 1929 ...
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La Scala, Glasgow

147-163 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3EW Architect: Duff & McKissack / A MacDonald Listing: None / Unknown No of Seats: ...
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Commodore / Odeon, Glasgow

1297 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G14 9PR Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 2,000 Status: Demolished Opened: 1933 Closed: ...
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Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) / Cosmo, Glasgow

12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB Architect: James McKissack, WJ Anderson   Listing: B-Listed (1988)   No of Seats: Unknown Status: Open ...
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Eglinton Electreum, Glasgow

25 Eglinton Street, Glasgow, G5 9NT Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 650 Status: Demolished Opened: 1911 Closed: ...
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Embassy, Glasgow

146 Kilmarnock Road, Glasgow, G41 3JE Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,638 Status: Demolished Opened: 1936 Closed: ...
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Broadway / Odeon, Glasgow

19 Amulree Street, Glasgow, G32 Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,742 Status: Demolished Opened: 1930 Closed: 1967 ...
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(Hillhead Picture) Salon, Glasgow

17 Vinicombe Street, Glasgow, G12 8BH Architect: Brand & Lithgow / McKissack Listing: A-Listed (upgraded from B in 2008) No ...
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Aldwych, Glasgow

2130 Paisley Road West, Glasgow, G52 3SQ Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 2,500 Status: Demolished Opened: 1938 ...
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Raith, Kirkcaldy

131 Links Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY1 1QL Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Other Opened: 1938 ...
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Silver Cinema / Lyric, Edinburgh

30 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: 1913 Closed: 1931 Other ...
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Palace / Savoy / Tudor, Edinburgh

St. Bernard's Row, Edinburgh, EH4 1HW Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: 1911 Closed: ...
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(New) Tivoli, Edinburgh

52 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2NB Architect: James McKissack Listing: B-Listed (1993) No of Seats: 1,999 Status: Closed as Cinema ...
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Caley, Edinburgh

31 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2DJ Architect: JS Richardson / JR McKay / McKissack Listing: B-Listed (1974) No of Seats: ...
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Carlton, Edinburgh

Portobello Road, Piershill, Edinburgh, EH8 7BQ Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,400 Status: Demolished Opened: 1935 Closed: ...
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Cinema, Inveresk

Inveresk East Lothian, EH21 Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Demolished Opened: 1936 Closed: Unknown Other ...
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Vogue / Odeon, Dundee

146 Strathmartine Road, Dundee, DD3 7SE Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,500 Status: Demolished Opened: 1936 Closed: ...
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Empire / New Empire, Dundee

62-70 Rosebank Street, Hilltown, Dundee, DD3 Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 800 Status: Demolished Opened: 1904 Closed: ...
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Regal, Stranraer

Dalrymple Street, Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, DG9 7ER Architect: James McKissack Listing: None No of Seats: 1,174 Status: Demolished Opened: ...
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Orient, Ayr

53-59, Main Street, Ayr, South Ayrshire, KA8 8BU Architect: AV Gardner   Listing: None   No of Seats: Unknown Status: Building at ...
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Strathclyde, Glasgow

41 Summerfield Street, Glasgow, G40 4HL Architect: Gardner & Glen Listing: None No of Seats: 1,910 Status: Demolished Opened: 1928 ...
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Theatre De Luxe, Glasgow

417 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3LG Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 262 Status: Closed as a Cinema ...
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Vaudeville Picture House, Glasgow

28 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8AH Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: Unknown Status: Closed as Cinema - ...
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Wellington Palace, Glasgow

11 Commercial Road, Glasgow, G5 0PQ Architect: AV Gardner (alterations) Listing: None No of Seats: 1,967 Status: Demolished Opened: 1908 ...
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Scenic Picture House, Glasgow

457 Paisley Road West, Glasgow, G51 1RG Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 800 Status: Demolished Opened: 1910 ...
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Springburn Picture House / Astor, Glasgow

Wellfield Street, Glasgow, G21 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 1,535 Status: Demolished Opened: 1920 Closed: 1966 Other ...
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Standard, Glasgow

95 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 1,153 Status: Demolished Opened: 1909 Closed: 1957 ...
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Star / New Star, Glasgow

1046 Maryhill Rd, Glasgow, G20 9TE Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 900 / 1,799 Status: Demolished Opened: ...
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Partick Picture House / New Partick, Glasgow

14 Vine Street (Orchard Street), Glasgow, G11 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 1,295 / 1,815 Status: Demolished ...
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Possilpark Picture House / Avon, Glasgow

277 Saracen Street, Glasgow, G22 5JX Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 1,222 Status: Demolished Opened: 1920 Closed: ...
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Queen’s / Tonic, Glasgow

160 Battlefield Road, Glasgow, G42 9JT Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 500 Status: Closed as Cinema - ...
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Orient, Glasgow

571 Gallowgate, Glasgow, G40 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 2,570 Status: Demolished Opened: 1932 Closed: 1965 Other ...
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Paragon, Glasgow

403 Cumberland St, Glasgow, G5 0SE Architect: J Jeffrey Waddell Listing: None No of Seats: 1,300 Status: Demolished Opened: 1912 ...
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Kelvin, Glasgow

1073 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LZ Architect: AV Gardner & Glen Listing: None No of Seats: 1,957 Status: Demolished Opened: ...
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Kinema, Glasgow

319 Springburn Road, Glasgow, G21 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 850 Status: Demolished Opened: 1926 Closed: 1958 ...
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Lorne, Glasgow

Cornwall Street, Ibrox, Glasgow, G41 1AQ Architect: Neil C Duff / Gardner & Glen (alterations) Listing: None No of Seats: ...
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Majestic, Glasgow

110 Smith Street, Glasgow, G14 0RX Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 959 Status: Demolished Opened: 1912 Closed: ...
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Grosvenor, Glasgow

24 Ashton Lane (194 Byres Road), Hillhead, Glasgow, G12 8SJ Architect: AV Gardner & Glen Listing: None / Unknown No ...
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Grove, Glasgow

12 Breadalbane Street, Glasgow, G3 7BN Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 827 Status: Demolished Opened: 1915 Closed: ...
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Elder, Glasgow

Rathlin (Reid) Street, Govan, Glasgow, G51 3AG Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 1,121 Status: Demolished Opened: 1916 ...
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Astoria, Glasgow

67 Possil Road, Glasgow G4 Architect: AV Gardner Listing: None No of Seats: 3,002 Status: Demolished Opened: 1931 Closed: 1962 ...
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Picture House, Campbeltown

26 Hall Street, Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute, PA28 6BU Architect: AV Gardner   Listing: A-Listed (1989)   No of Seats: 640 Status: ...
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