Rialto Cinema

1 Gray's Lane,
Dundee, DD2 3NA

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: J.B. Milne Theatres

Architects: W.W. Friskin

Firms: Allan and Friskin

Styles: Atmospheric, Oriental

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Rialto Cinema

Located in Lochee, a suburb to the south-west of Dundee. The Rialto Cinema opened in 1928. It had a Mexican style exterior with an Atmospheric style interior with a Chinese theme. The front of the projection box was designed as a Chinese shaped face, with the two projection port-holes as the eyes. The proscenium was 32ft wide and it was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound system. In the late-1950’s it was taken over by the J.B. Milne Theatres chain. The Rialto Cinema was closed in 1962, and was converted into an All Square Bingo Club, still operated by J.B. Milne. On 12th March 1993, Historic Scotland designated the Rialto Cinema a Grade B Listed building.

The bingo club had closed by March 2007 when the vacant building was damaged by a fire. The Rialto Cinema was demolished in November 2014 for flats to be built on the site.

Contributed by Graeme McBain

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 30, 2005 at 7:33 am

Seating at the Rialto Cinema, Lochee (a western suburb of Dundee) was arranged in a stadium configuration, with a raised section at the rear and no overhanging circle. It had a barrel-vailted ceiling in the auditorium and the proscenium opening was 32 feet wide.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 30, 2005 at 7:47 am

It is a Listed Grade B building. Unusual internal features were:– the orchestra sat on a garden bridge (now missing), the exterior of the projection booth was shaped like a Chinaman, with the projection beams coming out the two slanted eyes!

The auditorium walls were decorated in the manner of a ‘Chinese Garden’ with red, black and gold murals painted on the walls. Within the barrel vaulted ceiling were outlines of painted dragons and scrolls (now painted over).

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 30, 2005 at 7:56 am

A recent exterior photograph here:
View link

garypainter on October 14, 2006 at 11:12 am

This building was sold at auction last year, and is apparently undergoing conversion to a children’s play or nursery facility. Recent fire damage, however, appears to have left a hole in the roof. It is not clear what, if any, of the original interior survives.

garypainter on November 15, 2007 at 10:33 am

An application was made in spring 2007 to demolish the fire-damaged building, with a separate application made to build flats on the site, which is now little more than a brick shell. The small tower above the entrance has already been partially demolished due to structural concerns. The demolition application appears to have been withdrawn as of Nov 2007, although the council planning website indicates that a new application is pending. It is not clear if this will also involve complete demolition of the remains of the cinema.

Updated exterior pics are now available on the link posted above.

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