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ONE of the most treasured buildings in Bo'ness - the Hippodrome Cinema - was handed over to Falkirk Council today (February 14) to complete the final stage of its restoration.
Councillor Mahoney accepts hand over from Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Councillor Mahoney giving acceptance speech after official hand over from Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

The pre-art deco building is owned by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) who formally presented the keys of the Hippodrome to Bo'ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney, the Convener of the Council's Environment and Heritage Committee.

First cutom built cinema in Scotland

The Hippodrome, opened in 1911, is being brought back to life in a £1.8 million project and will be re-opened by the Council later this year as a cinema with heritage and community use.

It was built by Bo'ness cinematography pioneer Louis Dickson and designed by renowned local architect Matthew Steele.

View from balconyThe main construction phase has been completed by SHBT and work will now begin on installing modern projection equipment, and the remainder of new, 21st century seating. Modern catering faciltiies will also be installed.

Consulation will follow to decide on future use

There will also be further consultation with local people on the programme of activities in the restored building.

Councillor Mahoney, who accepted the keys at a formal handover ceremony in the Hippodrome, said: "Falkirk Council will complete the final part of the fit-out of the Hippodrome over the next few months, in time for a public opening later in the year. The architects have painstakingly recreated Stage and screen areathe striking colour scheme used when the building was remodelled in the 1920s.

Going inside this building is like going back in time. The restoration is fantastic."

Councillor Mahoney said: "Local people will be involved in shaping the final programme for the Hippodrome and we want to hear people's ideas to finalise plans for the building. There's already been a huge public interest in the restoration of the Hippodrome. I hope it can become a real hub for the local community - and a Mecca for film fans."

George McNeill, Chair of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, said: "SHBT is absolutely delighted today to be handing over the Hippodrome over to Falkirk Council.

Hippodrome balcony seating"We have owned this wonderful and unique building for 10 years and to finally see it restored to its former glory is tremendous!

The successful completion of this phase of the project is the result of a great team effort by all: design team, contractors, funding partners. We would like to wish Falkirk Council success in the next phase of the project and look forward to grand re-opening of the Hippodrome later this year. "

The Hippodrome is the jewel in the crown of the £5 million Bo'ness Townscape Heritage Initiative which provides grants towards the cost of restoration to heritage standards for historic properties in the core of the town centre's Outstanding Conservation Area.

The building has been restored in a multi-agency project with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Falkirk Council, BP, Scottish The Hippodrome auditorium from balconyEnterprise Forth Valley, Falkirk Environment Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Manifold Trust.

The main contractors, Watson Construction, have been working to restore the building since 2006 including removing and replacing flooring, repairing and replacing windows and providing high-specification cabling for the digital projection and audio-visual equipment.

Everything that can be preserved and restored has been, including the Art Deco signs for the toilets, oak panelling from the foyer and the original cast iron radiators which have been re-finished at the Ballantine Foundry in Bo'ness.

Press Release - Falkirk Council (14/02/2008)

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