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The Central Roller Skating Rink, Canmore Street and High Street, Dunfermline

Later - The Olympia Theatre / Cinema / Regal Cinema

Dunfermline Index

Henry Hare had a theatrical touring company background and a theatrical wife and had moved from Oldham to settle in Dunfermline. In December 1909 he opened the Central Roller Skating Rink in Canmore Street, on the site of the former Malt Barns. The Skating Rink had a balcony and tearoom and a gallery for the orchestra.

It soon became a cine-variety hall known as the Olympia, built by John Baxter & Sons of Glasgow. The Olympia opened with a Variety Bill headed by Ella Duncanson and Harnon, on Thursday the 17th of August 1911, still with Henry Hare at the reigns.

The Olympia held around 1,350 people and the fare was 'Animated Pictures' along with variety performers on its stage, two shows nightly at 7 and 9pm. Prices were: Pit, 2d, Pit Stalls, 3d, Balcony, 4d, Stalls 6d, and Reserved Stalls, 9d.

The Theatre was equipped with tip up seats and was lit by electricity, installed by Potter & Co of Glasgow, although gas was also installed as a backup. It also had a projection box fitted behind the screen with a so called 'flicker free' Pathe Lamp.

A Google StreetView Image of the site of the High Street Entrance to the Olympia Theatre, Dunfermline today - Click to Interact.Although the Central Roller Skating Rink, and its successor, the Olympia Theatre, had originally had their main entrances on Canmore Street, by March 1914 the Olympia had been enlarged by using the site of some neighbouring buildings and had a new vestibule added with a new main entrance on the High Street which must have been a great improvement for business.

Right - A Google StreetView Image of the site of the High Street Entrance to the Olympia Theatre, Dunfermline today - Click to Interact.

In 1917 The Theatre came under the control of Dunfermline Cinema House Ltd with D. Longmuir as Manager but in 1918 Henry Hare had taken back control, with E. Cooper as Manager. In mid 1921 the Theatre closed and was then taken over by Olympia Pictures Dunfermline Ltd who reopened it on the 19th of September 1921 with Mr. Stevenson as Manager, he was followed by Mr. A Vereoria who reopened the Theatre, after another brief closure, on the 15th of May 1922.

The Olympia closed for good in October 1922 and the building was purchased by Peter Crerar of Crieff. The Theatre was demolished in 1929 and the site cleared for the construction of a new Cinema, which opened as the Regal Picture House in December 1931.

The Regal is said to have had identical fittings to the Regal in Kelty but was much larger. In June 1938 the Cinema was taken over by the Caledonian Associated Cinemas Chain and had a decent life but was closed in June 1976 and the site was then used for the construction of a Littlewoods Store, which today is home to a branch of Primark.

The above information on the Central Roller Skating Rink and Olympia / Regal Cinemas, Dunfermline was gleaned from the fascinating Kinema Gigz Website, with kind permission Colin Gourlay; the excellent Cinema Treasures Website; and from information sent in by Graeme Smith.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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