Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Scotland's first cinema to reopen

Interior of the Hippodrome in Bo'ness
The Hippodrome was the first purpose-built cinema in Scotland

The first purpose-built picture house in Scotland is to start showing films again after 2.15m of restoration work.

The Bo'ness Hippodrome, which opened in March 1912, was the vision of local film-maker Louis Dickson and designed by architect Matthew Steele.

It stopped showing movies in 1975 and finally closed in 1980 after a failed run as a bingo hall.

The new cinema will open to the public on 9 April after a special community screening on the 6th.

Original features, including the art deco signs for the toilets, oak panelling from the foyer and the original cast iron radiators, have all been saved by the restorers.

Early screenings at the cinema included films by its creator Louis Dickson of the annual Miners' Day Gala in Bo'ness.

'An eyesore'

The last film shown is thought to have been The Golden Voyage of Sinbad shown on the 16 August 1975.

The refurbishment project, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund , Historic Scotland and Falkirk Council, included the reinstatement of the 1926 decoration and repair to the A-listed building's copper dome.

The project has also seen the installation of digital and 35mm projection and sound equipment, as well as a new screen.

The updated facility will accommodate 178 movie goers and not the original 725 who crammed into the building in its early days.

The cinema, which is owned by Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and leased by Falkirk Council, will employ 13 people, including technicians, catering and box office staff.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney said locals were looking forward to the building's opening.

Bo'ness Hippodrome
The cinema closed after a spell as a bingo hall in 1980

He said: "The structure fell into disrepair and many people saw it as a something of an eyesore. Thankfully, others also saw the potential for it to be saved and fully restored.

"This restoration process has breathed new life into the Hippodrome and made people realise what a fantastic place this is.

"We've used the colour scheme from when the building was remodelled in the 1920s.

"We've also added more comfortable seats, along with adaptations to make the building more suitable for disabled visitors.

"These additions will give local people and visitors a chance to relive the golden age of cinema-going, in far more comfortable surroundings than ever before.

"I can't wait until the first performance."

The project is part of a 5m plan to restore historical properties within the town.

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