Celebrate a century of celluloid at the cinema by sharing memories

The Pavilion Cinema in Galashiels celebrates its centenary in May this year.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 11:58 am
Galashiels Playhouse has screened films for 100 years this May.
Galashiels Playhouse has screened films for 100 years this May.

Opened initially as the Playhouse, the cinema has shown films continuously for the past 100 years.

To celebrate this milestone, cinema bosses want to create a gallery within the building, featuring Borderers’ memories of their experiences of visiting the venue over the years.

Since 1993, the cinema has been operated by the Poole family.

The Pavilion in Galashiels.

Andrew Poole, cinema manager said: “For the past 26 years we have been honoured to have had the support of over two and a half million customers.

But for the 74 years before our tenure, there would have been many millions more. Of course, most of the customers from the 1920’s will sadly no longer be with us, but there are bound to be many thousands of Borderers who did visit this wonderful building, and who continued to see films here through the 1930s, all the way up to present day.

“Watching a film in the cinema is an inclusive, emotional, positive experience and those memories stay with you forever.

“We’d like to tap into those memories and feature them at the Pavilion. So the plan is to create a ‘Memories Are Made At The Movies’ gallery.

“With that in mind, we’re reaching out to everyone who remembers visiting the Pavilion, or when it was called the Playhouse, Capital, or the Kingsway.

“We’d also love to see any pictures you have of the cinema, from any time in the past 100 years.

“It’s slightly unfortunate that the current name of the Pavilion was also the name of the former cinema in Channel Street in Galashiels.

“What we are seeking is memories from our customers who have visited the Playhouse, Capital, Kingsway and now the Pavilion.”

Neil Poole, cinema manager said: “When it was first built, the Playhouse (as it was then) was a theatre and a cinema. It ran as a multi -purpose building for many years and even had retail units on the ground floor (much like it has today) and a dance hall on the first floor.

“The main auditorium of the building initially had a stalls and a balcony area.

“In the 1950s the balcony was extended out to create a separate bingo hall in the former stalls underneath a new main cinema screen.

“At the same time, a wall was built, closing off an enormous area which was previously a backstage area for raising and dropping scenery for the theatre. This area was left to gather dust and cobwebs, undisturbed for 40-odd years until the extensive refurbishment and expansion in 1994 to 1995.

“At that time screens two and three were created within this blocked off area. And a fourth screen was created out of the area where the former Digby’s nightclub was.

“There’s no doubt this building has a rich and interesting history and we look forward to hearing about that from cinema patrons over the years.”

You can share your memories with the Pavilion by going to their web site at www.pavilioncinema.co.uk/memories

Andrew Poole added: “You may recall the ice cream girls in intermissions, you may recall when it was two levels – stalls and balcony, or you may remember when there were double bills and movietone news reels. And in the not so distant past, you may remember seeing your first Star Wars film or the first Jurassic Park film at the Pavilion/Playhouse/Captial/Kinsgway. Did you meet your future wife or husband here, back in the day?

“More recently, have you attended one of our Christmas Eve matinees when Santa makes an appearance and gives out presents to the children? Last year, we were contacted by a parent who came on Christmas Eve with their own children and they recalled coming as a child themselves and they reflected on how wonderful it was to see their own children going through the emotions they themselves enjoyed many years earlier.

“Anything you can remember, we’re interested in hearing about it.”