Cinema, 5 Shops & Tea Room

Salon Photo Play House, Vicar Street

for J and A Thomson

Illus: The Salon can be seen in the background of this photograph which shows the formal opening of Princes Street by the Prince of Wales in 1933.

In April 1920 the Dean of Guild approved plans by R G Callendar for J & A Thomson to reconstruct premises at the corner of Newmarket Street and Vicar Street into a picture house on the second floor and five shops and a tea room below, at an estimated cost of £6,000.  The building had been a furniture store.  Four of the new shop units faced onto Vicar Street, with the fifth just around the corner on Newmarket Street.  The new cinema had a capacity of 780, almost 700 of which were in the auditorium.  There were two private boxes.  The proscenium arch was some 24ft in width.  The walls were panelled up to a height of 6ft, the décor being in white and gold.  The upper walls were panelled in rich black and gold wallpaper.  It boasted electric fans, a ladies’ lounge, gentlemen’s smoking room, up to date precautions and a first-class professional musical trio.  The canopied entrance was on Vicar Street at the south end of the four shop units.  Inside the lobby the cinema-goer turned left and climbed the stairs which turned to bring them back over the Vicar Street shops.  The original façade on this street was retained but most of the windows were blanked as the floor between the first and second storeys had been removed.  The opening took place in March 1921 and the ceremony was performed by Mrs Forbes of Callendar.

G.B. Bailey, 2021