If you have ever been to Edinburgh, you might have passed by or even been inside The Caley Picture House on Lothian Road.
The Wetherspoons pub opened in 2016 and has since become among the most popular branches of the chain in the city. However, the building itself has a long and storied history dating back one hundred years.
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The original Caley Picture House opened its doors in 1923, designed by J.S. Richardson & J.R. McKay. The 900-capacity venue opened with a screening of the silent film The Game of Life.
A few years later, owing to its success and the increasing popularity of films with sound, the Caley Picture House underwent renovations to increase its capacity to 1,900. It was at this time that the iconic stained glass was added to the venue’s entrance.
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It continued to enjoy success in the years that followed, becoming the first cinema in Edinburgh to show films in widescreen. However, by 1984, the its popularity had dwindled and it was closed.
Two years later, the Caley Picture House reopened as a discotheque and found a second life. With its focus now on live music, the venue came to be known as the Caley Palais.
Over the next few years, the Caley Palais hosted countless musicians and bands in its historic walls. Some music legends even played at the venue, including Queen, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and New Order.
After this, the venue changed names multiple times—being known as Century 2000 and Revolution—before shutting its doors for several years. In 2008, it reopened under the original name of the Caley Picture House (later HMV Picture House) as a full-time concert venue.
Finally, the Caley Picture House closed its doors as a venue for good in 2014 and was purchased by JD Wetherspoon. Two years later, the pub opened and remains popular to this day.
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Though far from its heyday as an important culture venue, stepping inside the building today you can feel its storied history.
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