Century of cinema in Bo’ness as Hippodrome turns 100

The Hippodrome, Scotland's firsr purpose built cinema, will mark 100 years of entertaining
The Hippodrome, Scotland's firsr purpose built cinema, will mark 100 years of entertaining

FROM playing host to legends of the silent screen to thrilling audiences with CGI dominated blockbusters ... the Hippodrome has plenty to celebrate as it turns 100 this year.

The beautifully refurbished Bo’ness cinema - the first purpose built picture palace in Scotland - is celebrating the anniversary with a series of events, including a touring exhibition that is coming to a community near you.

‘Now Showing’ celebrates the magic of cinema - and for those of a certain age it is certain to bring the memories flooding back.

It doesn’t just focus on the Bo’ness trailblazer - incredibly, there used to be at least twenty cinemas across the Falkirk area from Bonnybridge to Grangemouth and Larbert to Brightons.

The exhibition tells the story of cinema-going in the Falkirk area from past to present, drawing on famous faces, memories, photos and artefacts held in the Falkirk Community Trust Archives, the National Library of Scotland and the Cinema Theatre Association.

Hippodrome 100 co-ordinator Shona Thomson says: “People are incredibly nostalgic about cinema. The exhibition opened last weekend at the Hippodrome’s Door Open days and we had more than 250 in to see the building and look at the exhibition.

“It was very well received, which is great.”

As well as sparking memories, the exhibition charts how cinema has grown from the silent era, through the dark days of wars and a golden age of stars, to a severe decline in the 1970s.

And it celebrates the fact that in the 21st century the picture palace is making a comeback with innovative new technologies and more independent cinemas such as the Hippodrome re-opening.

Shona is also using the exhibition to gather people’s memories of watching films at the Hippodrome - and she hopes the memories will span the decades of entertainment it provided.

“We’ve had a couple of great stories already since we launched the appeal just last week and we can’t wait to hear more.” she said.

People can get in touch by email at hippodrome@falkirkcommunitytrust.org, on Falkirk Community Trust Arts Facebook page or Tweeting it with the hashtag #Hipp100.

But if you want to write it down and post it, that’s fine too.

The exhibition can be seen at:

n Bonnybridge Library, Bridge Street, Bonnybridge, until next Wednesday 
(October 3).

n Forth Valley Royal Hospital (The Atrium), Larbert (October 6 - 21).

n Bo’ness Library, Scotland’s Close, Bo’ness (October 25 - November 8).

n Meadowbank Library, Stevenson Avenue, Polmont, (November 13 - November 27).

And ... cut! ... to the censor’s point of view

Another event happening soon is a must for cinema buffs, as Hippodrome 100 presents a fascinating look at the work of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

The Board shares its centenary year with Louis Dickson’s iconic building, although in those early days it was knowns as the British Board of Film Censors.

Presented by two key members of the film classification process, BBFC Director David Cooke and Senior Film Examiner Craig Lapper, this offers a real insiders’ peek at the people who decide what you see on the screen.

It’s your chance to find out how they make their decisions and discover how times and tastes have changed over the decades.

The presentation will be illustrated by clips from some key films ranging from the early days of cinema to more recent times, together with archival documents and photographs from the BBFC’s archive. There will also be an opportunity to ask your own questions of the guests.

n From Cuts to Classification is on Saturday, September 29, with a reception at 6.45 p.m. (tickets £5.85/£4.55)

To find out more, call the Box Office on (01324) 506850 or visit www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org.