Valuation Rolls 1915 - Historic Buildings
Picture Houses - the Cameo Cinema
Films or moving pictures were shown in many places from churches to halls at the start of the twentieth century. The first moving picture was shown in Scotland in 1896, in the Empire Palace Theatre, Edinburgh. By 1915, the same year William Fox founded the Fox Film Corporation in the USA, 119 purpose-built cinemas or picture houses from Elgin to Edinburgh were listed in the Valuation Rolls.
The Cameo cinema opened in Tollcross, Edinburgh, as the Kings Theatre in January 1914, and appears for the first time in the Valuation Rolls in 1915. The premises were rented by the Edinburgh and District Cinematograph Theatres Ltd. from the owner, Charles Cooper.
The Usher Hall
The Valuation Roll for the Burgh of Edinburgh 1915-1916 features the newly built Usher Hall.
Between a public house at number 65 Lothian Road and a shop at number 71 is a property described simply as a 'hall'. The proprietor details provide a clue to the origins of this building: "The Corporation of the City of Edinburgh for Andrew Usher's donation".
Andrew Usher was the son of a whisky distiller and donated £100,000 to the City of Edinburgh specifically for the construction of a new concert hall. An architectural competition launched in 1910 was won by Stockdale Harrison and Howard H Thomson with a Beaux-Arts design and the Edinburgh sculptor Harry Gamley was responsible for the interior decorative plaster panels which feature figures from the world of music. Two memorial stones were laid by King George V and Queen Mary on 19 July 1911 and the building was opened on 16 March 1914.
The yearly rental/rateable value column of the Valuation Roll indicates the relative grandeur of this building in comparison to its neighbours. Whereas the public house is valued at £240 and the shop at £205, the Usher Hall's is £1500.