La Scala Cinema

8 James Street,
Helensburgh, G84 8AS

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La Scala, James Street, Helensburgh

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland, the La Scala Cinema was opened in December 1913. Designed by architect Neil Campbell Duff of architectural firm Duff & Cairns of Glasgow. The cinema originally housed a single auditorium for 692 patrons and was considered one of the finest of its type outside of London. The seating was arranged on a stadium plan and had five private boxes located on a raised ledge at the rear. The projection box was located beneath the boxes. There were two slips containing seating which extended along the sidewalls towards the proscenium. It is a rectangular-plan Art Deco cinema, rendered and painted and extending to nine bays.

The front elevation features a taller bay to the centre flanked by pilaster strips with raised moulded panels. A broad round-headed arch springs from the cornice above and is set into a tall parapet. A modern door sits to the centre, surmounted by a canted oriel window. Oculi windows sit to either side.

Three long margined bays sit to either side, displaying rectangular windows at ground floor level and small square windows below the cornice. The outer bays are flanked by pilaster-strips, with keystoned oculi above.

It was one of the first British cinemas to feature tip up seating. The building was split into three sections in the 1970’s – a small 160 seat cinema, a snooker hall/bar and an amusement arcade. The building was finally closed in 1984 and remained empty until it was re-furbished in 2006 to open as a pub on 11th April 2007, known as ‘The Logie Baird’. Named after John Logie Baird, the developer of television transmission, who was born in Helensburgh.

On 30th June 1993, Historic Scotland designated the La Scala Cinema a Grade C(s) Listed building. It is listed on the Buildings At Risk Register.

Contributed by Phil

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 28, 2005 at 4:47 am

The Kinematograph Yearbook; 1937 edition gives a seating capacity of 692.

lascala03 on September 28, 2005 at 5:33 am

Hi Ken, The orginal capacity was 600+, but the modifications to the building in the 70s reduced the number to about 160. However very little evidence of the cinema remains today.

garypainter on October 14, 2006 at 10:56 am

Work has now started on refurbishment of the building, although sadly for pub use rather than the cinema/community plan. It is not clear whether the few original features surviving inside will be retained.

Various archive and current photos can be found here:

View link

garypainter on August 13, 2007 at 3:27 am

Now open as a pub called The Logie Baird, after the town’s famous television pioneer son. The interior sadly is entirely new, and is largely based on the ground floor only. It is not clear whether any original features survive above this.

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