The Lyceum Cinema: A Govan Landmark Seeking Revival in Glasgow

The story of Govan’s jazz-era giant, the Lyceum Cinema, seems to echo the decline of the local shipyards that once thrived in the area. Opening its doors on Govan Road in 1938, this grand cinema boasted a capacity of 2,600 patrons. Designed by the esteemed architectural partnership of McNair and Elder, the Lyceum stands as a remarkable testament to their cinema work, considered the best-preserved example of their collaboration. Partially converted for bingo use in the 1970s, the cinema ceased operations entirely in 1981. Despite its historical significance, the B-listed former Lyceum has remained vacant since its closure as a bingo venue over 15 years ago. However, the building’s frontage still captivates onlookers, adorned with a large poster, reminding us of the Lyceum’s glorious heyday.

A Super-Sized Govan Gem:

The Lyceum Cinema, like many of Glasgow’s super-size cinemas, left an indelible mark on Govan. With a capacity to accommodate 2,600 moviegoers, it stood as a testament to the thriving entertainment culture of the time. The cinema’s grand presence added vibrancy to the Govan Road, becoming a beloved landmark within the community.

Architectural Excellence:

Designed by the prolific architectural duo McNair and Elder, the Lyceum Cinema showcases their exceptional craftsmanship. This cinematic masterpiece is considered the best-preserved example of their work in the field of cinema architecture. Its enduring allure speaks volumes about the architects’ skill and vision.

The (Inevitable) Shift to Bingo:

In the 1970s, a partial conversion of the Lyceum Cinema transformed it into a bingo hall, reflecting the changing times and entertainment preferences. This modification aimed to adapt the space to meet the evolving needs of the community. However, the cinema ultimately ceased operations altogether in 1981, marking the end of its cinematic journey.

Searching for a New Purpose:

Shockingly, the B-listed former Lyceum Cinema has remained without a long-term purpose since its closure as a bingo venue over 15 years ago. Despite its historical significance and architectural splendour, a revival plan or suitable new use for the iconic building has yet to be found. The vacant state of the Lyceum stands as a reminder of the challenges in repurposing and preserving historic structures.

A Nostalgic Reminder:

Despite its uncertain future, the frontage of the former Lyceum Cinema remains wrapped in a large poster, evoking memories of the Govan landmark’s glorious past. This poignant display serves as a nostalgic reminder of the cinema’s heyday, capturing the imagination of passersby and igniting a sense of nostalgia for the rich cultural heritage of Govan.

Reviving a Govan Icon:

As the former Lyceum Cinema waits for its revival, efforts to secure its future continue. Preserving and repurposing this architectural gem presents an opportunity to breathe new life into the building, revitalising it as a cultural and community hub. By embracing its historical significance and architectural grandeur, the Lyceum Cinema has the potential to reclaim its position as a cherished Govan landmark.


The Lyceum Cinema, once a Govan giant and architectural marvel, now stands as a silent witness to the changing times and industrial decline. With its distinguished design and remarkable preservation, the former Lyceum captures the essence of Govan’s cultural history. As efforts to find a new purpose for this cherished landmark persist, the poster-clad frontage serves as a nostalgic reminder of the Lyceum’s vibrant past. By embracing restoration and revitalisation, the former Lyceum Cinema has the potential to reclaim its rightful place as a beloved Govan icon, preserving the legacy of entertainment and architectural excellence for future generations to appreciate.

Ascot Cinema: A Thoroughbred of Art Deco Splendour Transformed in Glasgow

The Ascot Cinema, a remarkable example of Art Deco magnificence, opened its doors on December 6, 1939, featuring Gracie Fields in “Shipyard Sally.” Built by Great Western Cinemas, the theater changed hands over the years, eventually being rebranded as the Gaumont in July 1950 under Gaumont British Theatres Ltd. It then became part of the Rank Organisation and was renamed the Odeon in May 1964. After closing its doors on October 25, 1975, the building remained vacant until 1979 when it was converted into a County Bingo Club. Designated a Grade B Listed building by Historic Scotland on July 10, 1989, the Ascot Cinema faced challenges during its redevelopment. However, the architects successfully preserved the Art Deco facade while blending it with new construction elements. Although the auditorium was demolished in 2001, a new development named “The Picture House” emerged in its place, comprising luxury apartments that pay homage to icons of the silver screen. This article explores the remarkable transformation of the Ascot Cinema, its historical significance, and the architectural accolades it has garnered.

Delayed Opening and Wartime Preparations:

The Ascot Cinema, designed by McNair & Elder, experienced a setback due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Despite the delay, the cinema’s grand opening finally took place in December 1939. In anticipation of potential bombing raids, the roof of the auditorium was reinforced to ensure the safety of moviegoers. This precautionary measure allowed the Ascot to survive the wartime challenges unscathed.

A Rich Cinematic History:

On December 6, 1939, the Ascot Cinema opened its doors to the public, presenting “Shipyard Sally” starring Gracie Fields as its inaugural film. Operated by Great Western Cinemas until February 1943, the theater then changed ownership, finding its home under Gaumont British Theatres Ltd. In July 1950, it underwent rebranding as the Gaumont and eventually became part of the Rank Organisation, taking on the name Odeon in May 1964.

Renaming and Change of Ownership:

In 1950, the Ascot underwent a transformation and was rebranded as the Gaumont. This change in name brought a renewed sense of identity to the cinema, marking a significant chapter in its history. However, in 1964, the Gaumount became part of the Odeon chain, aligning itself with one of the most recognised cinema brands in the country.

Decline and Transformation:

Despite surviving the ravages of war, the Ascot Cinema couldn’t escape the fate that befell many cinemas during the late 20th century. After serving as a bingo hall for over two decades, the inevitable decline of the cinema industry led to the demolition of the Ascot’s auditorium in 2001. However, the story did not end there.

From Cinema to Bingo Club (Inevitably):

Following its closure on October 25, 1975, the Ascot Cinema lay dormant until 1979, when it underwent a transformation into a County Bingo Club. This change of purpose marked a significant shift in the building’s use, although the grandeur of its cinematic past lingered within its walls.

A Resurrected FaƧade:

Amidst the changes, a silver lining emerged for the Ascot Cinema. The handsome Art Deco faƧade, a testament to its architectural heritage, was carefully restored as part of a modern residential development. Rising above the former cinema site, contemporary apartments now grace the landscape, while the restored faƧade pays homage to the Ascot’s glorious past.

Preserving Art Deco Splendour:

The restoration of the Ascot Cinema’s faƧade showcases Glasgow’s commitment to preserving its architectural heritage. While the cinema’s auditorium may no longer exist, the resurrection of the Art Deco exterior serves as a reminder of the Ascot’s once-grand presence. The integration of modern apartments into the development demonstrates the city’s ability to blend history with contemporary living.


The Ascot Cinema, a distinguished example of Art Deco magnificence, experienced a journey fraught with challenges and transformations. From its delayed opening due to wartime uncertainties to its eventual decline and demolition, the Ascot’s legacy lives on through its restored faƧade. As contemporary apartments now stand in its place, Glasgow preserves the essence of the Ascot’s architectural splendour, ensuring that its Art Deco allure remains a cherished part of the city’s heritage.

Paramount Cinema: Glasgow’s Timeless Art Deco Jewel

Prepare to bask in the glow of movie star quality as we turn our attention to an iconic Art Deco landmark in Glasgow. The Paramount Cinema, situated on Renfield Street, exuded glamour from its very facade when it was unveiled in 1934. Designed by architects Verity and Beverley as one of the city’s “super cinemas,” this 2,800-seater picture venue later transformed into the Odeon and welcomed legendary acts such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Although the cinema closed its doors for the final time in 2006, the captivating Art Deco frontage remains intact, preserving its allure while offering a retail space for visitors to enjoy.

A Glamorous Unveiling:

In 1934, the Paramount Cinema made a grand entrance onto the Glasgow scene, captivating all who laid eyes on its breathtaking frontage. The epitome of glamour, this Art Deco masterpiece became an instant attraction. The architects Verity and Beverley envisioned a space where moviegoers could revel in a luxurious environment, immersing themselves in the magic of the silver screen.

From Paramount to Odeon:

As time went on, the cinema underwent a rebranding, becoming the Odeon. This new identity not only continued to captivate audiences but also played host to some of the most legendary acts in music history. The Beatles and Rolling Stones graced the stage of the Odeon, adding an additional layer of cultural significance to this already iconic venue. The Odeon brought together the worlds of film and music, becoming a cherished space for entertainment in Glasgow.

A Shifting Era:

In 2006, the curtains closed on the Odeon, marking the end of an era for this beloved cinematic gem. While the auditorium has since been demolished to make way for office spaces, the magnificent Art Deco facade has been meticulously preserved. The timeless charm of the building continues to capture the imagination of passersby, reminding them of the cinematic grandeur that once filled its walls.

Preserving History:

Although the interior may have changed, the Art Deco faƧade of the Paramount Cinema-turned-Odeon remains a tribute to Glasgow’s architectural heritage. Retaining its elegance and charm, the building stands as a testament to the city’s appreciation for its rich history. The ground floors, now designated for retail use, provide an opportunity for visitors to engage with the Art Deco ambiance while enjoying a modern shopping experience.

A Lasting Legacy:

The Paramount Cinema and subsequent Odeon have left an indelible mark on Glasgow’s cultural landscape. While the cinema may no longer be operational, its presence reminds us of the vibrant cinematic and musical moments it once hosted. The Art Deco faƧade continues to be a beacon of glamour and a symbol of the city’s architectural excellence.

In 1963, renowned American entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., a member of the famous “Rat Pack” and known for his roles in films such as Ocean’s Eleven, The Cannonball Run, and Porgy and Bess, performed at the Odeon on Renfield Street in Glasgow. During his set, Davis Jr. reportedly delighted the audience by singing “I Belong to Glasgow.” In an interview at the Central Hotel, he revealed that he had also performed the song on occasion to audiences in the United States.


The Paramount Cinema, later known as the Odeon, has truly earned its status as a movie star of Glasgow’s Art Deco landmarks. From its glamorous unveiling to hosting legendary musical acts, this iconic venue has left an indelible impression on the city’s cultural history. As the cinema era fades away, the Art Deco facade stands tall, providing a glimpse into the past and a reminder of the city’s vibrant entertainment heritage. The Paramount Cinema/Odeon faƧade remains a cherished symbol of Glasgow’s enduring love affair with the magic of the silver screen.

Art Deco Amsterdam and the PathƩ Tuschinski Cinema

The very gothic looking PathƩ Tuschinski Cinema in Amsterdam is a mix of styles with an amazing art deco interior.

Tuschinski is a huge, Art Deco cinema palace located between the Muntplein Munt tower (near the world-famous flower market) and theĀ Rembrandtplein. Walking around the flower market area, you should see two towers by Tuschinski rising above other buildings. Built by the polish immigrantĀ  Abraham Icek Tuschinski (1898-1942), the cinema opened in 1921 and it is still around today with its Art Deco interior one of the most intriguing buildings in Amsterdam.

Tuschinski arrived in Rotterdam from Poland. Cinema was a new craze when he arrived and Tuschinski managed to open four cinemas in Rotterdam. In 1917, Tuschinski moved to Amsterdam, and a year later began the construction of the now world-famous cinema in Amsterdam at the time it cost around 4 million guilders.

The cinema is a mixture of Art Deco with the style of theĀ Dutch Amsterdam School and someĀ Art Nouveau mixed in for good measure. The original architect could not finish the building and Tuschinski fired him before the end of the construction, and two other architects ended up completing the interiors.

Fancy a weekend in Amsterdam to visit this gem?