May 1916: Cranston’s Picture House, Renfield Street – “Another Palatial Glasgow Hall”

An interesting article on pages 927-8 (pages 95-6, in The British Newspaper Archive) of The Bioscope, on Thursday the

25th of May, 1916, reads:





Close on two years ago the proprietors of Cranston’s Tea Rooms, in Renfield Street, Glasgow, decided to rebuild their

premises, and in the new building to provide a picture house which would be a credit to the name of Cranston and to

the city in which the name is a household word. That the directors have carried out their intentions to the letter was

seen in the handsome pile of buildings which was opened to the public on Monday. The illustration herewith given

provides a good idea of the imposing frontage, but does not convey adequately the real magnificence of the latest

cinema edifice, which must be admitted to be the finest of any picture house building in Scotland—the land of palatial

picture houses. Situated in Renfield Street, close to Central Station, and right in the hub of the city, the building is

designed in the Renaissance style of architecture, the upper portion being faced with Doulton Carrara ware and the

lower floor or entresol built of marble, while the main entrance is flanked by two large columns of green Tinos marble.


The picture house, which occupies the centre of the building, is equipped on the most modern and up-to-date lines. Of

steel construction, it is fire-proof throughout, while all the latest appliances have been installed to ensure the safety of



The architecture of the interior is restrained and most refined, the proportions of the theatre being carried out on

thoughtful lines. A colour scheme of soft black, yellow and orange makes for warmth and richness that is somewhat

reminiscent of an old Japanese print. The soft Chinese yellow colour of the walls imparts a glow to the interior which is

enhanced by the amber colour emanating from the inverted reflecting ceiling electric fittings that is at once perfect in tonal

quality. The seating is luxurious and has been installed with a view to securing the acme of comfort, while a good view

of the pictures is obtained from every part of the house, and the fact that the screen is treated with a special preparation

ensures a perfect picture without a strain on the eyes. Leading to the theatre is a well proportioned staircase which is

supplemented by lifts on the first floor, while ample exit stairs lead into Renfield Lane. In the matter of entrance and

staircase decoration this is in harmony with the general principle adopted for the building, being executed in warm buff

tones and grey black. The effect of this simple treatment is enhanced here, as in the interior of the picture house, by the

introduction of natural flower and foliage, which go far to lend additional interest to the handsome interior.


No less than four passenger lifts run direct from the elevator hall to any part of the building, while the heating and ventilation

are on the most approved principle, fresh air being introduced — washed and tempered in such a way that the atmosphere is

changed every few minutes.


The management of Cranston’s has been entrusted to Mr. David K. Kelly, who is well known to most cinema patrons in

Glasgow, having formerly managed La Scala, Sauchiehall Street, and for a few months the Grand Central, Jamaica Street.

Than Mr. Kelly it would be difficult to find a gentleman more suited to a ‘house’ such as Cranston’s, and with his hand on

the guiding rein the new house should prove a success from the commencement. The programmes to be submitted include

the world’s best, and among the top-liners already booked up first run for the city are: — ‘Carmen’ (opening week), ‘The

Dop Doctor,’ ‘The Tailor of Bond Street,’ ‘To-day and To-morrow,’ ‘Simon the Jester,’ ‘Samson,’ ‘Chimmie Fadden Out West,’

etc., etc.”



The article includes an illustration of the Renfield Street frontage of the building.



The British Newspaper Archive.



George Fairfull-Smith, August 2023.