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Victoria Hall


(Victoria Jubillee Town Hall, Empire Cinema, Ritz Cinema)

A fortress-like facade on north side of the High Street in Linlithgow represents most of what remains of the Victoria Hall, also known as the Victoria Jubillee Town Hall. The donation of a plot of land and the sum of 800 by Miss Jessie Baird was the catalyst for a new town hall, designed to accommodate dances, concerts and other civic events. The remainder of the costs of construction were funded through public subscription. The foundation stone was laid in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee, and the hall was opened two years later by Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847 - 1929). Originally very much Scots Baronial in style, its several corbelled turrets and central crow-stepped gable were all removed in 1937 when it was converted to become the Empire Cinema by Alexander Cattanach (1895- 1977) for Caledonian Associated Cinemas Ltd. It retains a grand roped entrance way and a battlemented and machiolated parapet. By 1961 it had been re-named the Ritz Cinema, but this closed in 1972 and building had the ignominy of becoming a bingo hall. Finally it became an amusement arcade but this closed and the building was threatened with demolition in 1991. Behind the facade, the building is now ruined. The cinema once had a proscenium which was 9m (29.6 feet) wide and an auditorium which seated 1000 patrons, although this was later reduced to 620. The rear section of the building partially collapsed in 2008 and was demolished.


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