Camelon Co-operative Cinema

The Hedges

In 1916 Mr Robertson leased the Camelon Co-operative Hall in the Hedges and fitted it up as a cinema to accommodate 450.  It was officially opened on 15 September by Robert Burt, the president of the Camelon Co-operative Society, and was known as the Camelon Picture House.  The theatre was run on the continuous performance principle with children’s matinees on Saturdays.

By January 1920 the lessee was Robert Pennycook who also ran the La Scala cinema in Falkirk Town Hall.  Robert Pennycook was running into financial problems and so in November his father, Thomas, took over the Camelon lease.  The Camelon Co-operative Society also saw a change in management that year when it amalgamated with other Co-operative societies to become part of the Falkirk and District United Co-operative Society.  One of its early acts was to take direct control of the Camelon Picture House and it was renovated at considerable cost.  Mr Heath, the manager of the cinema in Kelty, was then employed at the “Camelon Co-operative Cinema” and ran a full programme of films from 12 December 1921.  It seems to have operated for little over a year.  Heath did not stay long and the following year J Dick was appointed.  The opening of the cinema appears to have been seasonal – with long summer breaks from May to the beginning of September.  It was advertised as “Perfect Pictures Projected at People’s Popular Prices.”  At the end of the summer closure in 1923 the management of the Falkirk and District Cooperative Society decided not to re-open the Co-op Cinema and sought someone to take a lease of the hall – now referred to as the Lesser Co-operative Hall.

G.B. Bailey, 2021