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NEW BEDFORD PICTURE HOUSE

WHERE IS IT? On Eglinton Street on the edge of the Gorbals district, just south of the city centre and over the River Clyde

Now home to the O2 Academy at the edge of the Gorbals district, just south from the city centre across the River Clyde, it is one of the finest examples of the Art Deco movement in Glasgow.

While the current building was built in 1932, the cinema existed prior to that, occupying the former Eglinton Street United Secession Church. The church was built in 1825, but closed almost a century later in 1920, only to be bought by businessman Bernard Frutin and converted into a cinema that opened a year later. When a fire destroyed the Bedford Picture House in 1932, he immediately commissioned the New Bedford Picture House. Designed by architects Gavin Lennox and Daniel Walter McMath, the main auditorium featured a jazz-moderns zig-zag décor.

 

Frutin sold the cinema to the Green family, who owned and operated a number of playhouses in Scotland, and later developed into making newsreels and war propaganda films. The New Bedford Picture House finally closed in July 1983, transformed into a bingo hall that ran for another decade, during which time it received a Grade B listed status.

 

From 1993 until 2002 the building was left derelict. At the start of the 21st century, the Academy Music Group saw potential in the building, and spent £3 million restoring the art-deco building to its former glory, opening the Academy in 2003.

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