Govanhill Picture House:
A large rectangular rendered brick building with a pitched roof, this former cinema is primarily notable for its grand projecting entrance way. Stepping out from the south elevation with its full length balcony, the entrance has a pair of large square towers flanking the doorway with copper clad hatted roofs sitting atop octagonal bases. The centrepiece surrounding the doorway is tiled with glazed white and pale green original tiles in a similar colour scheme to that to be found at the 1912 Botanics Garage in the city's west end. The doorway is flanked by a single column with a lotus capital to each side: a stylised influence from ancient egyptian architecture and design, these egyptian motifs are continued with the decorative radiating sun decoration sitting atop the entrance porch.
Designed by architect Eric Alexander Sutherland (1870-1940), an architect who had designed numerous seaside pavilions early in his career. This influence is reflected in this design. Buit in 1925 and subsequently opened in 1926 the building served as a cinema until its eventual closure in 1961. Like many old cinemas it was then converted to a bingo hall. Following none years in this role, 1970 saw another change of use when the building became a warehouse; one of the few practical uses for such a large windowless building.
Today the building is in a poor state of repair with a major hole in the roof visible from Bankhall Street and numerous leaking and broken rainwater goods. The roof is tiled atop timber sarking and minor members on top of a large span metal trussed frame. Large areas of render have been lost from the south elevation and the building appears unoccupied and in an all round a very poor and dilapidated state. On the east elevation vegetation has taken hold at the site of leaks including somewhat unusually a healthy small pair of trees, the larger of which is considerable in size. The building is category B listed. (Nov 2012).
UPDATE: April/May 2012, major work is in progress, the building is being entirely re-roofed to make it wind and watertight. The vegetation on the east elevation is being tackled and the building's general decline beginning to be addressed. Pictures of this work and further details are at the foot of this page.
street address: 45-49 Bankhall Street, Glasgow, G42 8SL
Latitude / Longitude: 55.835887,-4.256049 (sourced using Google Maps)
site visit dates: 01 November 2011
looking west down Bankhall Street along the south elevation, with the large square towers and entrance porch projecting out onto the building line of the street. In the distance can be seen the Church of Scotland church at 12-24 Daisy Street, Govanhill.
South elevation and view up the east elevation
south elevation and the elevation wide first floor balcony, to the left of the entrance large areas of render have come away from the wall revealing the common brick wall behind. The large hole in the roof can be seen close to the party wall with the neighbouring blond sandstone tenement to the west.
the grand entrance porch, with the doorway flanked by columns, the egyptian details and decorative element above, and the twin towers
the roof is in a poor state of repair, thin tiles have been overlaid on older thin tiles, these seem to be of a synthetic nature. The gutters are blocked and the timber sarking is exposed with no doubt a large quantity of water ingressing into the building where rot will inevitably be found.
one of the two styles of decoration punctuating the balcony on the south elevation
glazed tiled doorway
one of the pair of tiled columns flanking the doorway, the capitals are known as lotus capitals, a design used in ancient egypt and based upon the shape of a lotus bud
the egyptian styled radiating sun decoration over the doorway
column and lotus capital and detail over doorway
the rounded fluted columns thicken to the base ending with a rounded semi-spherical base
east side of the entrance porch and the east tower
octagonal timber bases sit atop the square towers, topped by ogee styled copper clad roofs
derelict and empty, the pigeons have moved in
south-east corner and view down Batson Street
secondary entrance at the east end of the south elevation
balcony end on Batson Street with the second of the two styles of decoration punctuating the balcony
east elevation with the gable end of the pitched roof rising centrally, note the two trees growing from the elevation
the smaller of the two trees
vent top, probably from a boiler house sited below
north-east elevations, and view down the north blank elevation behind the gate
view down the north elevation, with its plain unrendered brick construction
rear of the building from the small area of wasteground immediately to the north
UPDATE: MAY 2012
Work has begun to make the building wind and watertight. This work is long overdue and as a result of the long term neglect patch repair has been unfeasible, instead prompting the owner to fund re-roofing the entire structure. Earlier in 2012 the copper cladding was stolen from the east of the two turrets on the south elevation in an audacious example of metal theft where the thieves actually used a cherry picker on a lorry to brazenly and openly gain access and steal the metal. With the owner making a welcome re-commitment to the building, the future of this local landmark now looks much brighter.
At the moment the plans are as understood to make the building wind and watertight and deal with some of the worst vegetation growth on the east elevation. A planning application has been lodged and is pending for conversion of the building to an indoor market with cafe and upper level function suite and associated external alterations.
the old tiles and sarking board have been stripped, and here new boarding can be seen progresssing across the roof's metal trusses (26/05/2012)
during the works the old signage has been uncovered on the south elevation over the main entrance (26/05/2012)
the original signage undamaged and resplendent now it is once more revealed (26/05/2012)