Basic Site Details

Name: Royal Hotel and cinema
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Status: Demolished
Grid ref:
Notes: The 1876 reconstruction for Don R MacGregor was carried out in phases; it ended in claim and counter claim lawsuits.

Cost of J M Henry alterations and additions: 18,000.

Proposals for a cinema at the rear of the hotel were announced late in 1912. 'A new picture house is about to be built in Princes Street Edinburgh, on part of the site of the Royal Hotel. The contemplated outlay on building operations is over 25,000.' [Building News 20 December 1912 p887].

EDINBURGH - Warrant was granted in the Edinburgh Dean of Guild Court last week to the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Limited for alterations at 55 Princess Street and to erect new buildings behind for a picture house. White marble will be a feature of the entrance hall, and statuary and other architectural ornaments will form part of the interior decoration. The new premises will have an effective elevation to Princes Street; but the premises to be used for the purpose of the picture house proper will be entirely to the rear of the hotel. The hotel will continue to occupy, as at present, the whole building with its frontage to Princes Street, but one of the shops - No 55 - has been acquired to make an entrance to the hall. It is estimated that the cost of the new erection will be about 30,000. The hall will accommodate nearly 1,000 persons and tea rooms on two storeys will be provided. Messrs Atkinson and Alexander, London and Mr R M Cameron DL are acting as joint architects and the work is to be begun immediately. [Building News 17 January 1913 p107]

The New Picture House, opened on Tuesday 21st October 1913 with seating for 850. The cinema auditorium ran parallel to Princess street at the rear of the hotel and was approached by a long corridor from the street. Above the auditorium were three floors of bedrooms and stores associated with the hotel. It closed on Saturday 26th May 1951, and was sold and demolished, along with the hotel, for a Marks and Spencer's store.

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 1New Picture House  

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 2Hotel  
Item 2 of 2Cinema In part of building from 1913 to 1951

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 2Royal Hotel, Princes StreetYes 
Item 2 of 255, Princes Street Address for cinema


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 61867  Reconstruction
Item 2 of 61876  Reconstruction
Item 3 of 61913 OpenedCinema opened October 1913
Item 4 of 61915 Design exhibitedDesign for cinema
Item 5 of 6July 1950 Alteration/conversionWarrant granted for alterations at 5,000
Item 6 of 61951 ClosedCinema closed 26 May 1951. Subsequently demolished, along with the hotel for a new Marks and Spencer's store


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 9David MacGibbon B1867 Reconstruction
Item 2 of 9George Beattie & Son A1876 Reconstruction
Item 3 of 9William Hamilton Beattie A1876 Reconstruction
Item 4 of 9James Macintyre Henry  18961898Alterations and additions
Item 5 of 9(Captain) George Luard Alexander C19121913Joint architect for cinema with R M Cameron
Item 6 of 9Atkinson & Alexander C19121913Joint architects for cinema with R M Cameron
Item 7 of 9Robert Atkinson C19121913Joint architect for cinema with R M Cameron
Item 8 of 9Robert Macfarlane Cameron C1912 Joint architect for cinema with Atkinson and Alexander (Building News)
Item 9 of 9Tarbolton & Ochterlony  1950 For alterations


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 3Aberdeen Hotel Co, Ltd8 Kinnoull Street, Perth, for alterations in 1950
Item 2 of 3MacGregor, Don RReconstruction (client for both phases of reconstruction)
Item 3 of 3Provincial Cinematograph Theatres Limitedfor cinema in 1913


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 3Academy Architecture1915 Part 1 pp53-62
Item 2 of 3RSA1876    
Item 3 of 3Spencer-Longhurst, Paul (ed.)1989Robert Atkinson 1883-1952 Achitectural Association (contributions by Gavin Stamp and Alan Powers)p43

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Builder3 June 1876XXXIV  
Item 2 of 7Builder12 January 1913  p124
Item 3 of 7BuilderEarly 1914CVI pp521-522 (Cinema - illustration, plans sections etc)
Item 4 of 7Builder11 October 1918CXV pp228-229 including plans and photographs
Item 5 of 7Builder7 July 1950  p45
Item 6 of 7Building News20 December 1912  p887 - proposed cinema announced
Item 7 of 7Building News17 January 1913  p107 - plans passed

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 1Edinburgh City ArchivesEdinburgh Dean of Guild Plans dated 2 February 1867