George Cinema, Portobello

Exterior view of the George (2016)

The George Cinema is a former Art Deco cinema on Bath Street in Portobello, Edinburgh. The building opened in 1939 as the County Cinema. For many years a bingo hall, it is a Category C listed building.[1]


The Grand Opening Ceremony, performed by Bailie Edward took place on Thursday, 30 March in 1939 at 2.30pm,[2][3] and the feature film of the opening programme was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[4] The George was the first cinema in the east of Scotland to use the four-track stereophonic sound with a wide screen. The system required 32 loud-speakers in the cinema, 16 of which were behind the screen.

The George Cinema was designed by Thomas Bowhill Gibson,[5] also responsible for the Dominion Cinema in Morningside, Edinburgh.[6] The promoters where Messrs Scott Paulo & Company The cost of the cinema was £20,000 and upon opening is seated 1600 people. The cinema featured wide knee-room, saucer shape layout ensuring no seat is immediately behind another, Western Electric Mirrophonic sound and Holophone lighting system.[3]

Interior view of the George from the balcony, showing the false ceiling and several original features (2016).

The George Cinema was threatened with demolition as a developer applied for planning consent for 20 privately owned flats.[7] The City of Edinburgh Planning Authority refused consent to demolish the art deco cinema.[2] An appeal was lodged in April 2018 by the developer, with an inspection to be made by the Reporter on 13 August 2018.[8][9] Fresh proposals for redevelopment were submitted in early 2021, and these were opposed by local Councillors.[10]


  1. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "14 Bath Street, The George, formerly The County (LB26818)". Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b Baird, George. Places of Entertainment in Edinburgh, Part 4, Portobello.
  3. ^ a b "Open Next Week". The Evening Dispatch. 24 March 1939.
  4. ^ "Public taste in films". The Scotsman. 1939.
  5. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Architect Biography Report (November 19, 2019, 12:03 pm)".
  6. ^ "Art deco cinema demolition battle reaches hearing". HeraldScotland.
  7. ^ "The George - Portobello". The George.
  8. ^ "George planning application – appeal lodged - Public Notices". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Scottish Government - DPEA - Case Details". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Striking new plans to restore art deco façade of former Portobello cinema". Retrieved 20 January 2021.

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Coordinates: 55°57′13″N 3°06′48″W / 55.95373°N 3.11321°W / 55.95373; -3.11321

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