Regal Cinema

24-34 North Bridge Street,
Bathgate, EH48 4PS

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Regal, Bathgate

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in Bathgate, a small town to the west of Edinburgh, the Regal Cinema opened on 17th July 1938 with Janet Gaynor in “A Star is Born”. It was designed in an Art Deco style by Leven architect Andrew David Haxton, who employed Newcastle-upon-Tyne based interior designer John Alexander, to provide the two relief panels of naked Roman charioteers on the splay walls beside the proscenium. These were considered indecent back in 1938, and almost cost the cinema its operating licence, but they were allowed. There are two other examples of Alexander’s work remaining in Britain, the the Northwick Cinema, Worcester (now in retail use) and the Forum Cinema, Hexham (now a Wetherspoons pub). The Regal Cinema had a proscenium 30 feet wide and a 28 feet deep stage, with four dressing rooms.

In the 1970’s, the auditorium was sub-divided horizontally and the lower section went to other uses. The former circle became a 467 seat cinema. The building was taken over by West Lothian Distric Council by 1984. It was closed just after Christmas 1992 and a new operator was sought. It re-opened later in 1993.

However, the Regal Cinema closed on 23rd September 1993 as a full time cinema and a proposal was put forward for demolition. It was saved and today is in use as a community arts centre known as the Regal Community Theatre. There is a 120 seat cinema located in the former circle, whilst the main floor is in live performance and community use with 176 removable seats.

On 3rd March 1999, Historic Scotland designated the Regal Cinema as a Grade C(s) Listed building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

garypainter
garypainter on April 5, 2008 at 2:50 am

Photos, including interior pics (although these predate further internal alterations) at the bottom of this page here:

View link

This link also includes information and photographs of Bathgate’s other surviving cinema, the Pavilion.

project
project on September 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm

John Alexander also used the same design centurion chariot panels at the Rialto cinema in Benwell Newcastle upon Tyne now demolished.

project
project on September 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

The John Alexander roman centurion splay wall panels in the Forum Hexham pre date those in the Regal. The Forum was built in 1937 and the stalls are now a Wetherspoon pub with a cinema in the circle.

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