1. The Grange Cinema, Stevenston,
New building on the site of the Grange Cinema, Stevenston.
The Grange Cinema, Stevenston.
The Grange Cinema, in Boglemart Street, was designed by the Glasgow firm of J Fairweather and Sons. It was one of four cinemas operated by the Kemp family of Saltcoats.
John Fairweather, the senior partner in the practice, specialised in Cinema design, having studied the subject in the United States. He was house architect to the Green Company and was responsible for Green's Playhouse in Ayr. He also designed the Regal in Saltcoats for the Kemp family.
The Dictionary of Scottish Architects does not attribute this building to John Fairweather. However, the dictionary refers to designs for a cinema in Saltcoats commissioned by Kemp, in the same year. This project has a similar capacity to the Grange but there are no records indicating that the project, planned for Kirkgate, was realised.
The Grange Cinema opened 1939 with seating for 1200 patrons. The building was used Bingo until 2007. It was demolished in 2009 and replaced by a supermarket.
Biography of 'Kemp family': Showmen and cinema exhibitors
George President Kemp was born in Leicester. He died 1928, in Ayrshire. Succeeded by his son, Harry Kemp who died in1972.
George Kemp worked as a solicitor's clerk before becoming a travelling showman in 1882, adopting the stage name 'President' Kemp. In 1901 he opened his first Bioscope show. Very much a family affair, George was helped by his son Harry and his brother Walter, who 'described' or narrated the stories of the early silent films for the benefit of the audience.
In 1911, anticipating the decline of the travelling bioscope, George retired from the road and opened his first cinema, the Pavilion in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. Two years later opened his second cinema, the La Scala in Saltcoats, subsequently converting a wooden building across the street into the Casino Cinema in 1919.
President Kemp retired in 1925 and son Harry took over the business. Harry had introduced a series of concert parties during the 1922 summer season at the La Scala cinema in Saltcoats. It was the first of the now legendary Kemp Summer Shows which ran at venues up and down the Ayrshire Coast.
Kemp's only Glasgow city cinema, the Capitol in Ibrox, opened in April 1927. It was sold 18 months later to Gaumont British. In 1930-1931 the Casino Cinema in Saltcoats was demolished and replaced by the Regal. By the 1960's Harry had been joined by his two sons Frank and George and had diversified into the amusement arcade industry.
Both the Regal and La Scala cinemas in Saltcoats continued to run and with Harry's death in 1972 Frank and George took over as the third generation of Kemps.
For further information`, including films produced by the Kemp family, please follow this LINK to the National Screen Archive.
For further information, please follow this LINK to the Scottish Cinema Website. Their web pages provides numerous archive photographs and a record of the building immediately prior to demolition.