Basic Site Details

Name: Lothian House
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: A local syndicate is considering a development scheme on a site at Canal Basin where it is proposed to erect a cinema to seat 2,500, a hotel, a garage, restaurant and shops. Plans will be prepared by Messrs Lorimer and Matthew FRIBA, 43 Minto-street, Edinburgh. [Builder 20 October 1933, p632]

Messrs Scottish Cinemas Limited have acquired a site in Lothian-road, formerly the basin of the Old Union Canal, for the erection of a cinema to seat over 3,000 people. Mr C J McNair LRIBA 272 St Vincent-street Edinburgh is the architect to the company and the contract will be executed by The Scottish Construction Company, 49 Bath-street Glasgow. [Builder 4 September 1936 Page 443]

Plans have been passed for the erection of a cinema in Lothian-road. The excavation, brick and masonry work will be carried out by Messrs A Stewart and Company Limited, Glasgow. [Builder 10 December 1937 Page 1086]

Impressive monumental classical office building, occupying entire length of
street. Designed for Sir Albert Ball (Nottingham) Ltd, and built on the site of
the Port Hopetoun terminal of the Union Canal. A scheme for the site, drawn
up by Robert Mayhew, appears to have been rejected in 1934. Stewart
Kaye's initial proposals including a large hotel along Morrison Street and a
3000-seat cinema, entered from Lothian Road, were conceived with
government use in mind; the first tenants included the Inland Revenue. The
hotel was never built, but the site was subsequently taken up by the Regal
Cinema and renamed the ABC in 1969. The cinema was closed in 2000 with
the auditorium demolished and redeveloped as offices and a small multiplex
cinema (CTA, 2008).

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 3ABC Cinema  
Item 2 of 3Regal Cinema Name given in Builder 4 September 1936
Item 3 of 3Somerset HouseYesName given in Architect & Building News

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Cinema  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 452,54, Fountainbridge  
Item 2 of 4118,120,122,124,126,128,130,132,134,136,138,140,14, Lothian RoadYes 
Item 3 of 41,3,5,7, Morrison Street  
Item 4 of 4Semple Street  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 71933  Proposal for hotel, cinema, garage and shops
Item 2 of 71934  First scheme drawn up.
Item 3 of 719361937ProposedScheme for cinema to hold 3,000 people
Item 4 of 71939  Offices and showrooms for H M Office of Works to be added - Dean of Guild Warrant granted
Item 5 of 71969 ReconstructionCinema extended in 1969 to become the first multiplex cinema in Europe, with three screens.

The Scottish Cinemas website says it was three screens when it closed but that a 4 screen mini plex was built in the basement and opened for oden cinemas - to be checked
Item 6 of 71998 Alterations and additionsCinema extended to ten screen multiplex at a cost of 8.2 Million.
Item 7 of 72000 ClosedCinema closed - redeveloped as offices and small multiplex cinema.


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 9John Fraser MatthewArchitectA1933 Unexecuted design (Robert Hogg Matthew responsible) - Proposal for hotel, cinema, garage and shops
Item 2 of 9Lorimer & MatthewArchitectural practiceA1933 Unexecuted design (Robert Hogg Matthew responsible)- Proposal for hotel, cinema, garage and shops
Item 3 of 9Robert Hogg MatthewArchitectA1933 Unexecuted design - as assistant to Lorimer & Matthew - Proposal for hotel, cinema, garage and shops
Item 4 of 9Robert Henry Jewers MayhewArchitect 1934 Initial scheme drawn up but rejected
Item 5 of 9Stewart KayeArchitect 19361937Superseded Lorimer and Matthew for designing complex including cinema.
Item 6 of 9William Riddell GlenArchitectF1936 Credited with being the architect for proposed cinema on Old Union Canal basin.
Item 7 of 9George Learmonth Harkess WallsArchitectB1939 Offices and showrooms for H M Office of Works to be added
Item 8 of 9Stewart KayeArchitectB1939 Offices and showrooms for H M Office of Works to be added
Item 9 of 9Stewart Kaye & WallsArchitectural practiceB1939 Offices and showrooms for H M Office of Works to be added


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 2Ball, Sir Albert, of Nottingham 
Item 2 of 2Scottish Cinemas LimitedClient given in Builder 1936 reference

Related Buildings, Structures and Designs

Child Structures

This structure or site has the following component or child structures (click on an item to view details):
 Building NameNotes
Item 1 of 1W Morton & Son premises, 139-144 Lothian Road 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 3Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishingp39
Item 2 of 3Lion Foundry Catalogue1935 7th ed. p167
Item 3 of 3McKean, Charles1987The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Pressp37, p195

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Architect and Building News1933Jul-Dec p91
Item 2 of 7Architect and Building News1935Jan-June p404
Item 3 of 7Builder20 October 1933  p652
Item 4 of 7Builder4 September 1936  p443
Item 5 of 7Builder10 December 1937  p1086
Item 6 of 7Edinburgh Evening News24 September 1998   
Item 7 of 7Scotsman15 April 1939   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 4Edinburgh City ArchivesEdinburgh Dean of Guild 22 November 1935
Item 2 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register30289 
Item 3 of 4National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSHaxton & Watson Collection HW 1930/19/16 - new premises for Reform Co-operative Society Ltd, Leven, including details of lifts; acquired design for lift enclosure at Lothian House, Edinburgh.
Item 4 of 4Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of ScotlandCanmore131106