On a recent trip round the Mull of Kintyre, I visited Campbeltown for the first time. Wandering around in the late evening, I came across the Picture House, Campbeltown’s cinema. It was built in the Glasgow School Art Nouveau style in 1913, and has recently undergone restoration. It is believed to be the oldest purpose built cinema in Scotland still in business.
What caught my eye was the information board outside the library next door. The cinema’s architect was one Albert Victor Gardner, a name I recognised. He built many cinemas in Scotland, especially in and around Glasgow, and continued to do so later in partnership with William Riddell Glen . He returned to refurbish the cinema in 1930.
While most of Gardner & Glen’s work was designing cinemas, such as the Grosvenor in Ashton Lane, they did have a few sidelines, including housing such as Westerton Garden Suburb in Bearsden, on Tantallon Road, and notably the red sandstone terraces of Strathbungo’s Garden suburb, c. 1929.
The partnership was dissolved in 1930, but Albert Gardner also designed a motor showroom, garage and offices in Titwood Road in 1936. This may have been the Southern Motor Company, now McMillan’s Restaurant.
One of my favourite displays at Window Wanderland was the 3D effect fish tank created by projecting onto the back wall of a front room in the gardens. One can’t help feel the original architects would have thoroughly approved of such a cinematic display.
The same information board described other public buildings in the town, several of which also had a Strathbungo connection. They were designed by HE Clifford, architect of Pollokshields Burgh Hall amongst others. Clifford lived at 12 Moray Place – his brass plaque is on the wall there. His wife had family connections to Campbelltown, and so Clifford had a strong link with the town all his life; he is buried there.