Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Look away ......... all who mourn the passing of the Withington Scala

I have fond memories of the Withington Scala, although what I saw there over the years is now a blur.

But it was handy for the White Lion and that “dive bar” which was actually just part of the converted cellars but to a 19 year old student had an appeal.

As I remember it was covered with posters for Watney’ Red Barrel, which some smart thing in an advertising agency thought would work if the beer was endorsed by a collection of former Soviet leaders, from Lenin to Khrushchev.

I don’t recall Stalin in the parade but I might be wrong.

But back to the Scala, which opened sometime before 1914 as the Scala Electric Palace on Cooper Street could hold 500 cinema goers and was owned by the Scala Electric Palace (Withington) Company.*

And like many picture palaces it fell on hard times in the late 20th century, finally closing and being demolished, although there were brave rescue attempts.

Even so it lasted longer than many of our old early 20th century cinemas.

Andy Robertson, that keen recorder of all we have lost, what we are about to lose and what we have gained, was in Withington said yesterday for a haircut, commenting that “my haircuts are as rare as my visits to Withington which is mainly because I get my haircut in Withington.  

I digress. I think this may be my first picture of the building on ex cinema land, and, something is happening on the corner of Parsonage Road”.

Now not wanting to correct Andy, but he had taken a series earlier last year when the new build was under construction, but here is the almost finished property.

And not content with the successor to the Scala he also snapped that other new build almost opposite, on the corner of Parsonage Road.

This too he had photographed in 2017, when Derek the Demolisher was doing his worst.

At the time I did some research on its history, and ended up remembering that sometime in 1980s I had eaten there when it was a Lebanese restaurant.

Well I say Lebanese, but like the films at the Scala, I can’t remember.
But the nice thing is, that someone will, and I have every confidence will tell me.

They may also check the planning portal to see what the new building will be.

I, being lazy will leave it to them.

Location; Withington

Pictures; new build in Withington, 2018 from the collection of Andy Robertson, and Wilmlsow Road the White Lion, Scala Cinema,  1960, from the set Withington Lillywhite, Tuck & Sons, courtesy of TuckDB,  http://tuckdb.org/history

*The Kinematograph Year Book, Program Diary and Directory for 1914

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