Galashiels cinema celebrates 100th birthday

  • Video report by Clare McNeill

A century of cinema is being celebrated in a Scottish Borders town this year, as The Pavilion in Galashiels marks its 100th birthday.

The owners are looking for locals to be part of the centenary celebrations.

“We want to create a gallery within the cinema to feature memories of peoples trips to the pavilion over the years,” says the manager Andrew Poole.

His family have run The Pavilion for the last 26 years and he’s been involved since he was just nine.

“Maybe they met their future wife or their future husband here, maybe they just had a few dates here, maybe they worked here as an ice-cream girl, maybe they worked here as a rewind boy or as a projectionist. We want to tap into those memories and showcase the cinema's history through the years.”

They are reaching out to the Borders public to submit pictures and anecdotes from their visits to the venue.

A ‘Memories are Made at the Movies’ gallery will be created in May.

It began life on Market Street in 1920 as The Playhouse where it ran as a theatre and cinema.

It then later became The Capital, before being rebranded The Kingsway. It was renamed the Pavilion in 1993 when the Poole family took over.

Credit: The Pavillion

Jim Egan remembers his first trip to the cinema as a little boy in the late 50’s.He said: “I think my earliest memory at the playhouse was coming with my father to see The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold...I pestered my father for days or weeks until he gave in.

“It was a big old Victorian theatre with all the lovely decor, cherubs and angels and coloured wallpaper. Big plush red seats, ashtrays. The Marlboro man would be doing heroics on the big screen, rescuing damsels in distress stuck on the railway line, encouraging us to buy Marlboro cigarettes.

“It was a big deal going to the cinema in those days, a real treat.”

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

Credit: The Pavillion

“It ran as a multi-purpose building for many years and even had retail units on the ground floor and a dance hall on the first floor.

“The main auditorium of the building initially had a stalls and a balcony area. In the 1950’s 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 yearsuntil the extensive refurbishment and expansion in 1994 to 1995.

  • You can share your memories with the Pavilion by going to their website.