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Kirkcaldy (And District)’s Lost Art Deco Heritage. 5. Regal Cinema, Leslie

Today we strolled around the small town of Leslie in Fife, hard by Glenrothes.

The last time we were there, a good few years ago now – probably before I had a digital camera, I’m sure the old cinema was still standing. Today it was a gap site. I’ve no idea when the building was demolished but it’s a shame, as the following image (from the Scottish cinemas website) shows.

Regal Cinema, Leslie

I had hoped to photograph it myself but no chance now. The logo below is on the same page of the Scottish Cinemas website.

Regal logo

Kinlochleven

On our way back home we stopped briefly to walk on to the bridge over the mouth of Loch Leven at Ballachulish. The good lady bagged these two photos first.

Looking back towards Loch Linnhe from Ballachulish bridge:-

Loch Leven from Ballachulish bridge:-

Having time to spare and it being a lovely evening we decided to take the long way round the loch through Kinlochleven.

There used to be an aluminium smelter at Kinlochleven for which its own (hydroelectric) power station was required. As a result Kinlochleven became the first village in the world to have every house connected to electricity, coining the phrase “The Electric Village.” The smelter shut down in 1996. The photo below is of the power station outflow.

Hills (and bridge over the River Leven) at Kinlochleven:-

From the bridge above I could see a chippy with an Art Deco style frontage. The photo was taken from a distance so it was difficult to tell if the business is still going.

Situated on the outskirts of the village on the southern edge is the War Memorial; a simple Celtic cross on a stepped pyramidal base. Dedicated to the men of Kinlochleven who gave their lives in the Great Wars, 1914-18, 1939-45:-

Mallaig (Malaig)

There isn’t much to do at Mallaig – or Malaig as the signs have it. (It seems a bit pointless to have the name repeated only without an “l” but bilinguality seems to be important once you get to Crianlarich – or A’ Chrìon Làraich if you prefer.)

Mallaig’s raison d’être was herring fishing. That’s why the railway was run into there in the first place. I can remember the fish trains rumbling past my boyhood home in the wee hours. Now the herring fishing has gone but I believe prawns have taken their place, shipped all over Europe – by lorry.

Mind you I did buy a book. There’s a building directly opposite the station which among other things houses a second hand bookshop. There is a “first hand” bookshop further into the town but it had mostly touristy books.

There were the expected tourist outlets and several cafes and restaurants, some of which doubled up as chippies, plus a Co-op.

We had nearly two hours to kill though.

The Marine Hotel is just across the access road to the station. I leave you to decide if it’s Deco or not:-

We wandered round the coast road a bit. This is a panorama of the harbour from the other side of the bay. (To get to the larger version on my flickr click on the picture):-

Walking back into the village I saw this intriguing building on the harbour entrance. This side is a fishselling business:-

The building is quite big. The other side is/was a cafe and a ship chandler’s. The cafe bit was closed so may be defunct.

Not content with three business premises the side facing the harbour provides shipping services:-

This is a panorama of the other side of the bay from the harbour entrance:-

The harbour mouth:-

You can just see a fisherman’s statue in the above. Beyond where I took the next one was permitted personnel only so I took this long shot:-

That was Mallaig.

Fort William Art Deco

The town is cut off from Loch Linnhe by a dual carriageway. We walked along it the first evening and saw the Imperial Hotel. Lovely curved area with balcony above. Nice stepping on the roof line.

There are other decoish buildings on the High Street.

Could this once have been a Woolworths?:-

The next one looks flat-roofed. Windows have been altered:-

Mountain Warehouse. Minor Deco at best:-

Fort William (An Garasdean) (i)

Our destination was Fort William (or, as the signposts have it, An Garasdean. No prizes for working out it’s Gaelic for garrison.) The first thing I noticed on entering Fort William proper was the rounded extension to the hotel here.

The Bank of Scotland building on the High Street:-

A shop called Aroma – more likely 60s or 70s than deco:-

Rear extension to Edinburgh Woollen Mill, off High Street:-

Lochearnhead

Just after the A 85 turns right in Lochearnhead you can find this rather decrepit old garage in the thirties style which has hints of deco in the stepped frontage – and flat roof.

The photo below is of Loch Earn from Lochearnhead. Just a glimpse through the trees. The loch is much more visible from the A 85 as you drive along it.

Red Deer Close(ish) Encounter

Three photos taken from our back bedroom window.

Again the good lady nicked two of them first.

By the time of the third I’d opened the window and the hind was well aware we were watching her.

Balfarg Henge

One of the strange delights of our new home is that Son of the Rock Acres is within walking distance (a couple of hundred metres or so) of an ancient stone henge. Two stones survive from the original outer circle of Balfarg Henge. The posts show where other stones once stood.

There is a central stone also remaining but that is flat. The modern posts follow the original circle. You can also see the ditch which formed the outer perimeter in the photo below and the fact that the henge is now surrounded by houses.

Canadian Pavilion, Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938

Another postcard of a building from the 1938 Empire Exhibition held in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. Great central tower, nice curved frontage. The full length flag standards have nice detailing halfway up the building.

Glasgow School of Art

I was devastated to hear today of the fire at Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s masterpiece building, the Glasgow School of Art. (For pictures of the undamaged building see here.)

I have featured another of his buildings, Scotland Street School, here.

I have also visited the House for an Art Lover, built to Mackintosh designs in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park (on part of the site of the Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938,) and Hill House in Helensburgh as well as the Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow but all without benefit a modern camera. All are visually stunning.

I must confess to being a teeny bit annoyed when Lorna Gordon, BBC London’s Scotland correspondent, called the Art School an Art Deco building. None of Mackintosh’s buildings are Deco. They are leaning towards it, certainly, but really have more in common with Art Nouveau. At a pinch you could say they act as a bridge between the two styles. While some Mackintosh designs have the blend of horizontal and vertical that is a signifier of Art Deco he also had a strong liking for curves which grew firmly from the Art Nouveau tradition of evoking nature and natural forms.

I assume the plans for the School of Art are still in existence somewhere – and that there is insurance in place. Even if it is costly it is to be hoped that some sort of effort at restoration can be made to the Art School. The result may not be original but so few of Mackintosh’s designs were erected in his lifetime it would be tantamount to a crime to allow to disappear the outstanding example that was.

In the meantime, not just Glasgow, not only Scotland, but the world, is a poorer place to live in tonight.

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