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Astoria Cinema

Central Park, Kittybrewster
Opened 8th December 1934 by Aberdeen Astoria Cinema Ltd. Architect. T Scott Sutherland.
Seated 2,060.  Sold to Donald's, 27th March
1936.

Tommy Scott Sutherland designed the Astoria Cinema in Clifton Road, Kittybrewster, which opened on Saturday 8 December 1934. 

The Astoria Cinema, Clifton Road, Kittybrewster, Aberdeen,  In 1934, a new cinema was built on part of the old Central Park, just north of Kittybrewster Auction Marts.  Its proximity to the relatively new housing areas of Kittybrewster, Powis, Woodside and Hilton should have ensured its success. It was made of concrete over a steel framework, with the roof sloping in a series of steps to produce the best acoustics. It had a colour scheme of light pink, ivory and brown with walnut panelling and 2 miles of Wilton carpet. It closed on Saturday 13th August 1960, re-opening later that month as a Bingo Hall but that only lasted a few months and it finally closed in January 1961. In April 1967, it was being demolished and the site redeveloped as a shopping complex. The cinema had had one of the latest Compton Theatre Organs, which had been removed piece by piece and restored to be placed in the hall of Powis Academy. In November 1982, an arson attack destroyed the organ.  The organ grilles. The guts of the Astoria Compton were behind the grille on the left, whereas the Capitol Compton Organ's workings were on the right.  There was only set of organ pipes on one side of the cinema, the right-hand side was a dummy designed to balance the other side. the Capitol was similar. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed 13th August 1960. Bingo for a few months.

 

 

 

 

 

Closed January 1961. Demolished April 1967

 

 

Compton Organ

The Astoria Cinema organ.
T
his magnificent Compton Organ was first played by Bobby Pagan (40's inset) and in later years by George Blackmore FRCO.  The organ was a fine instrument, which had an ever-changing array of lights to suit the mood of the music.

George, who came from Chatham was often accompanied by his wife, who was a fine soprano.

George's signature tune was "A Hundred Pipers". Sadly George passed away in 1994, aged 73. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the demolition of the Astoria, the organ was housed in the main assembly hall at Powis School where it continued to give excellent service.

Described as 'one of the most colourful periods in the history of the school', the project seems to have been greatly enjoyed by everyone at the school, as well as giving the organ a further lease of life following the demolition of its original home at the Astoria Cinema in Kittybrewster.  The Compton Illuminated Organ at Powis Academy had originally been situated in the Astoria Cinema at Kittybrewster, which opened in 1934. It was reputedly the first of its kind in Britain, but its future was put in doubt in 1967 when the Cinema building was due to be demolished after it had closed in the previous year.  When the Head Teacher of Powis Academy, Mr Valentine gave his support for the project to rebuild the organ in the school hall, it transpired that it had to be dismantled and removed within ten days, at which point the demolishing work was due to start. Luckily the owners agreed that the organ could be dismantled and stored at the school 'until its fate was settled'.  What followed was a mass transportation of the organ parts from the building, including some of the larger pipes being carried by pupils up the Great North Road 'to the astonished stares of passers-by!'.  Partly due to the unconventional way in which the organ was acquired, it took 6 months for the authorisation for its purchase to be approved by the City Council, and during this period the price dropped from £500 to £400.  Rebuilding of the organ took a further 9 months until it produced its first sound at Powis Academy on 3rd October 1968. It carried on providing music for school assemblies and events for 14 years, until the hall, including the organ, was suddenly destroyed by fire on 22 November 1982  - started by a pupil with a grievance against the school.

 


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Last modified: 01/09/2013