Paisley is loosing one of it’s most loved Historic Art Novau Buildings under the West End regeneration, the former ABC Cinema which latterly became the Regal Bingo hall located at the corner of High Street and Lady Lane.
The Regal opened it’s door’s on the 26th November 1934 with 2054 seats with a grand ceremony performed by the provost.Designed by Charles macNair for Associated british Cinemas, it took the ubiquitous ABC name in 1963.The opening attraction was the film ‘The House of Rothschild’. Plans for the building by CJ McNair were submitted in 1930, although James McKissack has also been listed in connection with the building.
It was taken over by Caledonian Associated Cinemas in 1978 then sold to County Bingo in 1982, the sale of that company to Gala had triggered its closure on March 5th, 2006.
There has been activity at the building since early November maybe with hope we were all awaiting news it was to be re-opened and bring back the days of the ABC Minor’s but sadly it has fallen to Central Demolition of Bonnybridge to do the unblightening task of demolishing the entire building to pave way for a landscaped area, recent activity was this sunday morning 11/1/09 when the power to the building was disconected and Gas supplies being cut 14/1/09.
Paisley’s Most Palatial Super Cinema
Specially designed to provide superlatively good entertainment, is certain to achieve an immediate and overwhelming success. In the spacious comfort that so increases ones enjoyment – and in an atmosphere of dignified and entrancing beauty – all the pleasures of perfect entertainment are yours.
Perfect Reproduction is provided by the most modern type of Western Electric apparatus, incorporating all the latest tangible improvements, including the new wide range System.The heating and ventilation plant is a marvel of modern engineering. It provides a constant supply of perished air, which provides a perfectly wholesome atmosphere.The cinema featured a Compton organ with an illuminated console. In the 1960s, it was renamed simply the ABC. Bought by CAC in 1978, it regained the name Regal, before finally closing in 1981. It has been a bingo & social club ever since.
Charles James McNair, Architect Born: 1 November 1881 Died: 17 August 1955, Charles James McNair was born on 1 November 1881, the son of Henry McNair, butcher, and Catherine Sloan. He was articled to James Archibald Morris of Ayr from 1898 to 1903. In the latter year he moved to Glasgow to become assistant to John Nisbet and took over his practice on his retirement in 1910, with Robert Norman Houghton McKellar as his chief assistant from 1913.
McNair was primarily a cinema architect mainly through his partnership with George Urie Scott in the Cinema Construction Co: between the wars he worked with Robert Elder who was first chief assistant and then partner from 1936. It used to be said that McNair got the work and Elder designed it: Elder was an able designer but was remembered by an assistant, Robert Forsyth, as ‘a very shy man who didn’t want to take the credit’. Some of their later work was considerably influenced by T S Tait.
McNair was married twice: first to Agnes Jane Hamilton, and later to Margaret Coutts Jack. He died of coronary thrombosis in Victoria Infirmary Glasgow on 17 August 1955, his home address at the time of his death being 16 Carolside Avenue, Clarkston. He left estate of £8,902 17s 10d.
No doubt as the memories of the ABC come floding back and as you look out your old photographs with a tear in your eye please come into the message board on this site and share your memories and photos.As i write this this now the Demolition company will only state Demolition is Imminant but i expect within 3 weeks.
For images of the building please click here to go to the Flickr group page
Written by M Fedigan