Cameo Picturehouse

38 Home Street, Tollcross,
Edinburgh, EH3 9LZ

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Picturehouse Cinemas UK (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Picturehouse Cinemas UK

Functions: Movies (Independent)

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: King's Cinema, Cameo Cinema

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 440131.228.2800

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News About This Theater

Cameo Picturehouse

The Kings Cinema opened on 8th January 1914 and was located across the road from the Kings Theatre. The entry was converted from a former drapers shop, with the auditorium built behind existing shops on ground which had been occupied by a riding school. It was owned by Mr Barlett and he employed a ladies orchestra to accompany the first week’s films.

In 1948 it was taken over by Messrs. Pooles and was re-named Cameo Cinema. With a seating capacity of 550, it became Edinburgh’s first house of ‘Continental’ films. The Cameo Cinema closed on 11th September 1982. It stood unused for four years, until it was taken over by new owners and re-opened on 16th August 1986.

Recorded Cinemas took over in 1991 and they added two screens to the cinema which seated 63 and 77. In 1996 it was taken over by Oasis Cinemas and they proposed plans for a fourth screen.

On 1st February 2000, Historic Scotland designated the Cameo Cinema a Grade C Listed building. In 2007, this was upgraded to Grade B Listed.

Contributed by bill davidson, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 30, 2005 at 3:05 pm

Opened as the King’s Cinema on 8th January 1914 with a seating capacity of 650. It was re-named Cameo from 25th March 1949 becoming an art house cinema. By the mid 1960’s it had gone over to screening mainstream movies such as “Tom Jones” and seasons of Woody Allen movies. It closed with the double bill “Stir Crazy” starring Gene Wilder & “The Blue Lagoon” starring Brook Shields.

I have not located what it became after closing, but it is now re-opened as ‘woody’ states in his posting above.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 30, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I omitted the date for closing with the Stir Crazy/Blue Lagoon double bill, it was 11th September 1982. I have now found that the Cameo re-opened under new ownership on 16th August 1986 and continues today.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 12, 2005 at 9:08 pm

More information on the Cameo Cinema with photographs can be seen here:
View link

chilliequeen on December 20, 2005 at 11:27 pm

“The Cameo cinema has been put up for sale after its owners admitted plans to turn it into a superpub are likely to fail”. (The Scotsman)

I just learned of this terrible news from a friend. There are so few historic cinemas in Edinburgh I hope the campaign to save it succeeds ( I have two blue velvet seats from the 1986 refurbishment and have fond memories of the place.

kencmcintyre on February 10, 2006 at 11:53 pm

From Edinburgh Today:

Cameo Cinema

For Sale

One of Edinburgh’s few remaining old cinemas, Cameo Cinema, built in 1914. However, in November 2005, the owners, City Screen:

  • put the cinema up for sale.

  • applied for part of the main auditorium to be converted to a bar.

Herald & Post: November 17, 2005, p.9
Edinburgh Evening News: November19, 2005, p.13


Further details of the proposals for the Cameo were reported in the Edinburgh Evening News on November 22.

It is proposed to:

  • replace the cinema seats in front of the main ‘Screen 1’ by tables and chairs on a flat floor, with a bar at the back.

  • replace the existing bar by a new 55-seat cinema.

The Evening News also reported that an online campaign to save the cinema had received 82,000 hits by November 22, 2005

Edinburgh Evening News November 22, 2005, p.23


The proposals above have resulted in widespread opposition from people who fear they would result in the cinema being turned into a ‘super pub’.

It was reported on November 24 that proposals are being considered to rescue the Cameo and continue to run it a a cinema.

  • Edinburgh Council would buy the Cameo cinema and provide subsidy as it already does for the Filmhouse cinema in Lothian Road.

  • The Cameo would be run by the company that already runs the Filmhouse cinema and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Edinburgh Evening News 24 November 2005, p.25

Planning Application Withdrawn

What next?

City Screen, the owners of the Cameo Cinema announced on November 30, 2005 to an audience of 250 protestors in the Methodist Hall at Tollcross, that in the face of growing opposition to their plans, they had decided to withdraw their planning application to convert their main auditorium into a bar.

The head of the Film Festival and Filmhouse confirmed that they would be willing to run the Cameo if a buyer could be found. However, Councillor Henderson said that Edinburgh City Council had no cash available to save the Cameo.

Edinburgh Evening News: November 30, 2005, p.20

kencmcintyre on February 10, 2006 at 11:59 pm

Here is another link with renovation news:
View link

Ian on February 22, 2007 at 6:05 am

Photo from 1993 here:

View link

garypainter on August 13, 2007 at 10:59 am

Just as an update, owners City Screen eventually withdrew the planning application to convert the main auditorium into a restaurant/screening area. Without a live planning application, Historic Scotland were then able to upgrade the cinema’s listed building status to from Category C(s) to Category B – being situated in the back court of a tenement, this has effectively upgraded the listing of the entire tenement on the grounds of the cinema auditorium within it. Hopefully, this will better protect the cinema from any future plans to covnert the auditorium for non-cinema use.

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