Cameo Picturehouse

38 Home Street, Tollcross,
Edinburgh, EH3 9LZ

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garypainter on August 13, 2007 at 2:59 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.

Ian on February 21, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Photo from 1993 here:

View link

kencmcintyre on February 10, 2006 at 3:59 pm

Here is another link with renovation news:
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kencmcintyre on February 10, 2006 at 3:53 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Planning Application Withdrawn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

chilliequeen on December 20, 2005 at 3:27 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.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 12, 2005 at 1:08 pm

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

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 30, 2005 at 7:35 am

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 May 30, 2005 at 7:05 am

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.

woody on March 3, 2004 at 8:01 am

CORRECTION: this theatre is on Home St just off Lothian Road, its a three screen arts cinema. The building opened in 1914 and has a fabulously rich italian renaissance interior dripping with ornate plasterwork.
It was the first cinema in edinburgh to have a bar which was opened by Sean Connery in 1963.
In 1991 two small screens were added, with seating as follows, sc1 – 253 seats, sc2 – 75 seats, sc3 – 60 seats
In 2003 the Cameo was bought by the Picturehouse group who aim to uphold its pedigree as Edinburghs favorite arts venue.
There are planned refurbishments/restorations to the lobby and bar areas this summer.
official website: