Destiny Church: Formerly the New Tivoli Cinema on Gorgie Road, Edinburgh

Destiny Church, formerly the 1930s New Tivoli Cinema, on Gorgie Road in Edinburgh, Scotland.(Image: Mr H. Destiny Church, formerly the New Tivoli Cinema, on Gorgie Road, Edinburgh)

Scotland’s popular capital, Edinburgh, is home to many abandoned cinemas that have been repurposed for new uses as the decades have passed by. One prominent example – unmistakably a former picture house – is the New Tivoli Cinema on Gorgie Road, a stone’s throw from the Gorgie City Farm and not too far from Haymarket. The 700-seat former film house is now known as Destiny Church, a contemporary place of worship that opened its doors in 2008.

Remembering the church’s heyday as the New Tivoli, photographer Mr H writes that:

…it was designed by cinema architect James McKissack, and opened in January 1934, incorporating some of the fabric of the earlier Tivoli Cinema, in particular most of the facade, which was extended upwards and eastwards. Seating was for 1200, and the plans included stage and dressing rooms. This closed as a cinema in July 1973, and from then until 2006 was a bingo hall. The 1930s sand-blasted art-deco window decorations are still visible on the exterior, and the interior retains most of its 1930s detailing. The building was B-listed by Historic Scotland in 1993.

A short distance away, in the direction of Haymarket, stands the remnants of another historic picture house known as the Scotia Cinema. The Scotia is understood to have been the second oldest cinema in Scotland. Until recently, its historic auditorium was used to store rental cars, and retained some of its original features despite being hollowed out. Demolished in early 2014 to make way for student accommodation, the distinctive facade survives today as a tattoo parlour.

Related: 10 Inspiring Examples of Adaptive Reuse

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