Glasgow & West Scotland

Restoration of Campbeltown's Picture House to begin

Campbeltown Picture House Image copyright Gary Sutherland
Image caption The art nouveau Campbeltown Picture House closed in 2014

Work is about to start on the restoration of one of Europe's most historic cinemas.

The Picture House in Campbeltown opened in 1913 but has been shut for 18 months.

Details of a £2.5m construction contract have been announced and the cinema is expected to reopen in spring 2017.

It will feature a 192-seat main auditorium, a second small auditorium, a new entrance foyer and cafe.

The art nouveau building, which is surrounded by palm trees on the banks of Campbeltown Loch, has been described as "Cinema Paradiso in the west of Scotland".

It was one of Scotland's first purpose-built cinemas and the oldest to have always been used as a cinema.

The building narrowly avoided being seriously damaged in an air raid in 1940 but a bullet hole in the glass door was not repaired until around 1980.

The restoration and construction work is due to start shortly and finish in March 2017.

'Historical significance'

Jane Mayo, the chairman of Campbeltown Community Business (CCB) which has owned the cinema since the 1980s, said: "When the cinema reopens in 2017 it will be a fitting celebration of the 30 years' stewardship by this community of this precious building.

"It is an exciting moment for all those many people who have been involved in its care, that CCB is finally able to announce the appointment of a contractor to deliver the construction part of the project.

"This has been made possible by the generosity of so many people, from the donation of a few pounds gathered up from coins found on the street to many more substantial sums.

"The Picture House has always been a local concern from its initial conception by a group of over 40 shareholders with local connections more than 100 years ago.

"When the restoration is complete, this cinema will be able to stand tall amongst the great cinema buildings of the world. It is hoped this will add to the impact of other recent developments in the town to bring a new era of prosperity to Kintyre."

Jonathan Payne, managing director of CorraMore Construction which will carry out the work, added: "The project will bring the historic cinema up to the standards expected by a modern cinema-going audience, while respecting its architectural and historical significance."

The money for the restoration came from several different sources including the UK and Scottish governments, the National Lottery and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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