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Ayr Playhouse, Boswell Park, Ayr

A Category B Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.4622 / 55°27'44"N

Longitude: -4.6335 / 4°38'0"W

OS Eastings: 233592

OS Northings: 621864

OS Grid: NS335218

Mapcode National: GBR 39.XXC8

Mapcode Global: WH2PP.SYRY

Plus Code: 9C7QF968+VH

Entry Name: Ayr Playhouse, Boswell Park, Ayr

Listing Name: Boswell Park, Bingo Hall (Former Ayr Playhouse)

Listing Date: 29 March 1999

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394555

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47166

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Town: Ayr

Electoral Ward: Ayr West

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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John Fairweather (of Glasgow), 1930. 9-bay, rectangular-plan Inter-war Classical/Art Deco former cinema now bingo hall (2007). Painted harl. Deep base course; fluted frieze.

NE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: pilastered central entrance; 3 pairs of modern recessed doors; brackets and cornice to fascia; 3-light window above; pilasters divide bays; frieze; cornice; fanlight. Entrances at ground to advanced bays to outer left and right with corniced, square-headed doorpieces and 2-leaf timber doors. Single windows aligned above at 1st floor with raised margins and stepped block pediments with square cross motifs within. Regular fenestration at ground and 1st floor to remaining bays (partly infilled at ground floor); corniced ground floor windows.

Predominantly infilled glazing; original glazing remains to central entrance bay. Corrugated-iron roof (flat in part); square coped stacks.

INTERIOR: impressive, good quality, largely extant original decorative scheme. Entrance staircase with marble balusters and banisters. Main auditorium with semi-circular boxes to side walls and with Corinthian columns separating boxes and framing stage. Curved balcony with original velvet-padded, tipping seats. Some original glazed timber doors. Glazed brick and timberwork to offices; stained glass stairwell windows; original friezes and cornices throughout.

Statement of Interest

This is a well-detailed former cinema with a distinctive entrance elevation to Boswell Park. It is the earliest remaining example of one of Fairweather's 'super-cinemas' (see below) for the Green chain. The central entrance door with its large fanlight above is a particularly notable feature in the streetscape. The building is a prominent landmark, and retains many of its original interior architectural features. The auditorium in particular has fine original decoration, including characteristic large Corinthian columns separating the boxes to each side wall.

The second of Green's 'super-cinemas' in Scotland, the Green's playhouses were amongst the largest and most impressive cinemas built in Europe during the height of the cinema building period. Brothers Bert and Fred Green developed their cinema empire from their family's vast experience as travelling showmen and variety theatre owners.

John Fairweather (1867-1942) was born in Glasgow and specialised in designing cinemas in Scotland. He was the house architect for the Green family. He designed Playhouses for Glasgow (1925-29; demolished 1985), Dundee (1936; only the tower remains after a fire in 1995; see separate listing) and Wishaw (1940; see separate listing). All four 'super-cinemas' displayed the elaborate Corinthian-columned interior.

The building was opened as Green's Playhouse in July 1931, and was a replacement for an earlier building which had burnt down. It was designed to accommodate 3,116 seats and was described by the AYRSHIRE POST at its opening as "Ayr's new super-cinema" and "the second largest cinema in Scotland".

Currently in use as a bingo hall (2007).

List description updated and category changed from C(S) to B as part of the Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.

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