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Carlton Bingo Partick Heritage Visit

Updated: Apr 4

We are delighted to announce that Carlton Bingo have kindly agreed to donate original projection equipment and heritage items from the former Star Palace and F&F in Partick!

Originally built as a mechanical workshop on Dumbarton Road, it was then a remarkable 113 years ago that the building would be purchased by Star Animated Pictures. It was then transformed into one of the earliest cinemas in the country, hosting 1,005 seats and officially opening in February 1910 as the Star Palace.

The Star Palace would then see two rebuilds in the first ten years of its existence! First in 1914 to the plans of architect Charles J. McNair, and then again in 1920 when the cinema was sold to Star Palaces Ltd. and remodelled by the architect William Reid. Just five years later, the Star Palace would close in August 1925, meaning that the venue has not been a cinema for an astonishing 98 years!

Upon closing, the building was purchased by entertainment entrepreneurs Fyfe & Fyfe, who transformed the auditorium once again and opened the F&F Palais de Danse as a dance hall and roller skating rink! Dancing and skating would share the schedule for many years, and in the 1930s a new façade was constructed, featuring a wonderful Art Deco tower and canopy over the pavement. The F&F would remain one of Partick's most beloved dance halls up until the 1960s, when the venue would turn to bingo, which still remains the case to this day. Yet even under the long stewardship of Carlton Bingo the building is still affectionately referred to by many locals as the F&F!

The streetscape would then change significantly with the arrival of the 21st century, the Art Deco façade would be demolished as new flats were built along Dumbarton Road and a new entrance created within the new development. Thankfully, the auditorium still remains, and we were incredibly excited to visit and see what remains inside!

The equipment still in situ is believed to be over 100 years old and will become signature exhibits in the Museum of Scottish Cinemas in the Broadway Cinema of the future! The two main items featured are a wonderful Stelmar spotlight slide projector and the incredible Nevelector mercury arc rectifier that powered it. Plans are now being developed for the safe disassembly and transportation of these items back to Prestwick, for safe storage until the development of our museum in the years to come. This is an incredibly rare opportunity and we aim to ensure the continued preservation of the equipment for future generations. We would like to hugely thank Carlton Bingo once again for their amazing support and commitment to our project, and their co-operation in retrieving these items safely!

The Stelmar and its mercury arc rectifier would have been used during the days of cinema at the Star Palace over a century ago, and then continued to be used during the dancing and roller skating days of the F&F! Both items represent a bygone era and the projection room still holds other unique survivors too, including the original lighting rig, period speakers and even a stack of Morganite carbon arc rods that were also used to operate the Broadway's very own 35mm projectors!

We hope you've enjoyed coming along on the journey with us today and we look forward to returning in the near future to safely collect the remaining items and bring them back to the Broadway for public display in the future!

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