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Regents Cinema (Odeon)

The Regent Cinema on Justice Mill Lane

The Regents Cinema later to be the Odeon Cinema - the Cast Iron Obelisk in the middle of the street was a ventilation shaft for subterranean Electric Cable Tunnels.  Lower Justice Mill, Union Glen. Justice Mills of one kind or another are first mentioned in the 1300s, and were the site of a famous battle. In their final form, an Upper Justice Mill occupied a site now partially covered by the Odeon Cinema, while the Lower Mill stood in Union Glen, at the bottom of the steep slope with its Mill Dam above and behind it with a water wheel centre). The left hand part of the building and the wheel were removed when the Regent Cinema was built, the dam was drained and a thoroughfare created into Union Glen, but the central and right hand parts survived, albeit derelict, into the 1960s.  The Odeon was demolished in 2002 A local example of Art Nouveau is the cast-iron Electric Subway Ventilator at the Holburn Street end of Justice Mill Lane.

It is understood that Mr T S Sutherland ARIBA 232a Union-street, Aberdeen is Architect for the proposed new “Regent” cinema in Justice Mill Lane for Messrs J R Poole of the Palace Cinema Aberdeen and Edinburgh and Mr William Firth of Bradford.

The Regent Cinema in 1927, by Tommy Scott Sutherland (1899-1963), was built on the site of the Upper Justice Mill, at the Holburn Street end of the ridge.   The Lower Justice Mill was down the brae in Union Glen; its mill-pond lay between the 2 buildings.   The 2 mills had been in operation well before 1320, when they were granted to the Burgh of Aberdeen by King Robert I, (Robert the Bruce), and were still in operation 600 years later in the 1920s. The Lower Mill pond was drained and filled, the 3 streams diverted and covered and the site was levelled by excavating it back towards Justice Mill Lane.   The Regent Cinema occupied the eastern part of the site formerly occupied by the Upper Mill; the western part of the site is occupied by the McClymont Hall.  The frontage of the Regent Cinema (latterly the Odeon) was of Rubislaw granite, decorated with bands of red terracotta, with a polished black granite base.   The vertical central windows, giving the impression of height, became something of a Sutherland trade-mark, later deployed to useful effect in the Kittybrewster Astoria and the Majestic.  The Regent opened on Saturday 27 February 1932, a few months after the Palace.   The building is now occupied by the Cannon sports centre and health club.   The new owners have renovated the exterior to a high standard, extending to the rear of the car park, where it abuts Union Glen.

The craze for all things Egyptian coincided with the spate of cinema construction in the 1920s and 1930s, and was often incorporated into both exterior and interior designs, being very apparent in the Odeon, Gaumont and other chain-cinemas of the period.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013