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Treasure 17: A souvenir of Aberdeens Cinema
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Treasure 17: A souvenir of Aberdeens Cinema

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 17: A souvenir of Aberdeens Cinema
Historic Documents
Treasure 17: A souvenir of Aberdeens Cinema
This excellent brochure was a souvenir from the opening of the Capitol cinema on Union Street. It was opened on Saturday 4th of February 1933. Despite inclement weather a large crowd gathered for the launch of perhaps the grandest cinema in the history of the city. The ambition of the new establishment is reflected in the design and extent of this brochure.

The Press and Journal reports: "The Capitol was opened to the public in the early evening, and for over two hours before the opening there was a queue in Union Street, while in the heavy rain in the evening hundreds of people were content to wait in the street queues."

The newspaper article stresses the local ownership of the cinema and the local craftsmanship that went into its construction. The Capitol was the undertaking of Aberdeen Picture Palaces Ltd., and was designed by A. G. R. Mackenzie and George Clement.
In the introduction to the souvenir brochure the chairman of Aberdeen Picture Palaces, A. D. Hay, writes "Here then stands the 'Capitol,' a proud, vital and stately landmark in the World of Entertainment. The 'Capitol' was built for you, it is your Theatre, an Aberdeen enterprise incorporating every known value of comfort, and every modern device for the presentation of 'Super Entertainment,' in the interests of Aberdeen patrons whom we feel confident will ever remain, loyal patrons of the 'Capitol.'

The cinema was official declared open by Baillie Watt and he echoed the above sentiments, stating that the Capitol was "the last word in the cinema world, and reflected greatest credit on all concerned in its design and construction."

One interesting feature of the brochure is the inclusion of specially created adverts for all the companies involved in the construction and furnishing of the new cinema. Some of these adverts, such as that for S. B. Russell, bricklayer and contractor on Affleck Street, provide rich information on the history of the companies and give an insight into how the companies saw themselves. The brochure details the companies behind every aspect of the buildings from the cinema seating and terrazzo work to the innovative lighting.

"With a gold key, presented by Mr G. A. Wilson, advocate, one of the directors of Aberdeen Picture Palaces, Ltd., the proprietors of the new cinema, Mrs A. D. Hay, wife of Mr A. D. Hay, chairman of the directors, unlocked the main entrance door, and the Capitol, an Aberdeen-owned and Aberdeen-built hall of entertainment, was opened to the people of Aberdeen and the North of Scotland."

The opening day of the new cinema featured a varied evening of entertainment. The Press and Journal states "All the magnificent possibilities of the new theatre were embraced by the items of the opening programme. There was ballet, cinema and organ playing, each of notable worth." The ballet performance by the Henrietta Fuller Dancers was particularly praised. Mr Edward O' Henry played the theatre's new top of the line Compton organ.

At the opening ceremony, B. H. Gates, a director of Aberdeen Picture Palaces, said: "It was a long lane that had no turning. They had built the Capitol not for to-day, but for the generations of Aberdeen people to come. The company had dedicated the Capitol to the people of Aberdeen, their children, and their children's children in the hope that in generations to come they might appreciate what had been given them."
Souvenir brochure
Capitol, Cinema
Aberdeen Local Studies
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