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Casino Cinema

Built on the site of the Old Hide Market and Slaughter House that occupied the North side of Wales Street between Little Wales Street and Park Street in the late 19th Century

Casino Cinema
Opened 7th February 1916 by J P Kilgour. Arch. G Sutherland & Clement George. s. 900. Sold to Bert Gates, 23rd November 1939, then to Donald's, 23rd May 1941. Closed. 3rd November 1959. Sold to James Rennie & Arthur Forbes for Bingo Hall 26th September 1961. Closed August 1962. Sold to council. Used as a store. Demolished for flats, 1971

Near the top of Wales Street - Opened in 1916, seating 900 and very popular with the the local residents this stood directly opposite Hanover Street School and was reached across derelict area of land cleared of old Tenements.  In a child's eye the Spanish Facade appeared like a yawning face from the playground and the intervening waste ground was a mass of 'Kypies' - cups or hollows for playing 'bools' with glass marbles.  Tattie Mashers, and Mexicans were names given to certain glass marble formats. 

Popular films would lead to queues forming pavement deep each side of the Cinema for the Cheap or Dear Seats.  Children under 5 were not admitted but my brother got me in to see Frankenstein and the Mummies Curse aged 4 and I howled the place down from my front seat - till forcibly ejected by the Manger, brother and all - I got a bashing from Sandy but it did not deter my relief from being separated from the all too frightening images and falling masonry.

The Floor Manager was a former WW1 veteran and having been shell shocked he used twitch violently at every gunshot on screen of which there were many in the old Westerns.  We also had the ignominy of large aromatic sprays being walked up and down the aisles during the films.  Now were they to kill the stench of cigarettes which were smoked continually (the projector had to cut its path through the reek), or to kill the fleas - either way it was perfume to us. 

At the end of each performance they played the national anthem and all stood up in unison but walked out.  Newsreels and Coming Soon items were interspersed with Victor Sylvester's Musical Signature while reels were changed by the projectionist.  Hard seats at the front, single upholstered in the middle and double seats for lovers at the back - we would crawl on the floor from the cheap seats to the 'dear' during the boring parts despite the disturbing debris and detritus on the floor.  If the film broke there would be howl of disappointment and then loud protest with whistles from the audience. In those days you could not leave the cinema until the National Anthem was completed to a fully standing Audience.

Closed in 1959 largely due to the arrival of TV and the depopulation of the surrounding areas to new housing schemes in the suburbs.

Wales Street Slaughter House, used to be opposite the Cinema Site

Wales Street
a cul-de sac crowned by the Casino Cinema was yet another haven for the contemptible near homeless who used to buy sweeties by way of 2d of smush from the Sweetie shops in the Castlegate and Marischal St Dod Masson lived there and played in the street before moving to Powis Circle tae kick a ba’ on a green wi' Dennis Law.  There he lived next door to my Grannie Christie (Nee Sinclair) – and all we had was shank’s pony to get to the back o’ beyond.  But then again proud and magnificent Mounthooly was nae far behind just a little higher in altitude.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013