520 Sauchiehall Street,
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Previously operated by: Associated British Cinemas Ltd., Classic Cinemas (UK)
Architects: John Fairweather
Previous Names: Vitagraph, King's Cinema, Newscine, Newcine, Curzon-Classic Cinema, Tatler Cinema Club
The Vitagraph opened in 1912, the auditorium was only eight seats wide and had a small balcony, which made it a long narrow room. It had rear projection using a mirror system to project the image onto the screen.
Externally the façade had Ionic columns, flanked by sculpted torch bearers surmounted by an angel playing pipes. At the rear of the building on Renfrew Street the external wall was also decorated. Here there were tall windows, carved gargoyles and a pediment upon which is mounted a bust of Beethoven.
From December 1914 it was re-named King’s Cinema was it was sold to John Maxwell’s Scottish Cinema and Variety Theatres circuit in 1917. In later years Maxwell’s company was known as Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and they sold the cinema in 1954.
It was purchased by Capitol and Provincial News Theatres who renovated it and it re-opened as the Newscine. However newsreels and short subjects were not a great success and from 14th February 1955 it was re-named Newcine and went over to 2nd run feature films. Classic Cinemas took control and it became the Curzon-Classic Cinema screening a repertory programming of old Hollywood features.
From 29th July 1973 it went over to screening ‘uncensored’ X Rated films and was re-named Tatler Cinema Club. From March 1981 it was re-named Curzon Cinema and specialised in screening Scandinavian soft porn movies. Closure came on 22nd February 1984 with "Loverboy" and "Blood Queen". It was then converted into a nightclub named the Blanket Club. By 1996 this club had closed and the building was empty, but it later re-opened as the Guru Bar & Club. By 2021 it was operating as the Five 2 Zero club.
On 3rd August 2004, Historic Scotland designated the former Curzon Cinema a Grade B Listed building.
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Here are some photographs and details on the Curzon Cinema:
As a nightclub, the building seems to change names every few years – it was called The Velvet Rooms in the mid-90s, before very briefly being renamed Bed, then Blanket sometime in the early 2000s. Now known as Guru, the interior is subdivided into various rooms, with no trace of the former use as a cinema evident in the public areas at least.
The building’s front and rear facade pre-date the cinema, having seemingly been built as a piano showroom in the 1890s, hence the Beethoven bust. There may be elements of even older 19th-century building between the parallel facades on Sauchiehall and Renfrew Streets. Cinema specialist John Fairweather was responsible only for the cinema conversion in 1912, which was largely internal alterations. The earlier exterior work was by David Paton Low, with later upper floors by Bruce & Hay.
The club has changed names yet again – as of autumn 2007, it has been known as The Classrooms.