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117 North Street, the New Picture House

A Category B Listed Building in St Andrews, Fife

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Latitude: 56.3418 / 56°20'30"N

Longitude: -2.7977 / 2°47'51"W

OS Eastings: 350789

OS Northings: 716890

OS Grid: NO507168

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.4FD6

Mapcode Global: WH7S0.0V2P

Entry Name: 117 North Street, the New Picture House

Listing Date: 2 June 2008

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399932

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51110

Building Class: Cultural

Location: St Andrews

County: Fife

Town: St Andrews

Electoral Ward: St Andrews

Traditional County: Fife

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Gillespie and Scott, 1931; minor alterations also by Gillespie and Scott 1936 and 1960. Unusual small cinema, now (2007) with 3 screens, retaining much fine original interior decorative detail including watercolour panels by local artist Ada Walker. Modern bow-fronted auditorium and inner foyer with Art Deco references fronted by Classical arcaded loggia projecting from East Neuk vernacular façade of red pantiled crowstepped gable and low swept roof bay slotted into earlier terrace. Harl, dry-dash and red brick with ashlar dressings. Keystoned roundheaded openings to street elevation.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: principal elevation to N comprising loggia projecting over footpath, deep set doorway of 3 2-leaf part-glazed redwood doors with large roundheaded bipartite window in gable above. Small single storey wing to left with altered shop front and pend entrance at outer left. 2 tall square-plan towers flank slightly lower 3-stage semicircular tower (just visible from street) with tall stair window and horizontal band courses linking long foyer with rectangular-plan auditorium.

INTERIOR: good original classical decorative scheme retained in auditorium with vaulted ceiling, decorative plasterwork including delicate swags punctuated by fine watercolours of local scenes, and proscenium arch with cartouche lettering 'NPH'; balcony enlarged. Long outer foyer now with island paybox and Doric columns leading to circular inner foyer.

Largely multi-pane glazing patterns in timber and metal windows. Red clay pantiles to street elevations.

Statement of Interest

The New Picture House is a little-altered cinema in an unusual, and possibly unique, marriage of styles created to sit within a traditional St Andrews streetscape without compromising the comfort and technical excellence expected by the discerning cinema-going public of the inter-war period which became known as "the long weekend" (McKean, p61). The Classical detailing of the loggia is reflected in the very fine auditorium, while the Art Deco modernity, lending massing and scale to the structure, is discreetly positioned but obvious to those who wish to see, behind the pantiles and crowsteps. Watercolour panels in the interior depict local scenes, such as the Cathedral and Castle as well as the cinema itself. St Andrews-based artist Ada Hill Walker (1879-1955) was the youngest sister of William Hill Walker of Walker & Pride architects. The emphasis at the New Picture House is on distinct local identity and this is very rare in cinema design of the 1930s.

The New Picture House was so named owing to the existence in St Andrews of another cinema, The Cinema House, which had opened in 1913 and was demolished in the early 1980s. Local architects James Gillespie and Scott, based at 4 Queens Gardens in St Andrews, worked prolifically in the area and their work characteristically takes note of the area's vernacular character. When first built, The New Picture House had a first floor café which is now (2007) sublet as a bar/restaurant and accessed from a new entrance to the west of the cinema entrance. Other changes include the addition a of second screen in 1980, and third screen in 2001. In 2005 the balcony was extended to accommodate luxury seating, and the two watercolour panels from the original balcony front were framed and hung elsewhere within the building.

Assessed as part of the Cinema Thematic Study 2007-08.

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