Century old Campbeltown cinema’s archives secured
● National Library will look after wealth of material
0 Artefacts kept by the Campbeltown Picture House have been donated to the National Library of Scotland A treasure trove from the archives of Scotland’s longrunning cinema has been secured for the nation.
Artefacts kept by the Campbeltown Picture House dating back more than a century have been donated to the National Library of Scotland.
The gift has been revealed ahead of the cinema’s forthcoming reopening within the next few weeks after a £3.5 million makeover.
Architectural drawings for the 1913 building, which was designed by architect Albert Gardner, in the Glasgow School of Art Nouvea style, are among the objects donated.
They include a wealth of material relating to the Picture House’s first managing director, Frederick Rendell Burnette, a former painter, musician, actor, mind-reader and conjurer who led the creation of Scotland’s earliest cinemas.
The archive, which includes details of contributions made by the Picture House’s 40 original shareholders, provides a rare insight into the early days of cinema-going in Scotland.
Other items include newspaper cuttings heralding the opening of the cinema, early advertisements for film showings, a receipt for the sale of the Picture House’s piano after the silent film era drew to a close in 1933 and details of an accident involving a plane carrying reels of film for the cinema.
One of Scotland’s first purpose-built cinemas, it was closed in 2014, just over a year after marking its centenary while fundraising efforts were still underway to make way for a long-awaited overhaul.
Work on a project to restore the main auditorium, create a second new screen and cafebar, and restore its historic facade began last year after funding was secured from Historic Environment Scotland, Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Ruth Washbrook, the National Library’s moving image and sound collections manager, said: “Campbeltown Picture House occupies a very special place in the history of cinema in Scotland which makes its archive all the more important. The archive will enrich our collections and add to the knowledge we hold about cinema in Scotland.”
Jane Mayo, chair of Campbeltown Community Business, which is leading the restoration, said: “We’re delighted our precious archive will become part of the national collection so that future generations can be inspired by the story of an isolated community determined to bring the latest technologies to their town.”