Bob Hope, who was in town for a show at the Usher Hall, shows what he thinks of a poster from a Bing Crosby film at Edinburgh's Pooles Cinema in 1952.
Bob Hope, who was in town for a show at the Usher Hall, shows what he thinks of a poster from a Bing Crosby film at Edinburgh's Pooles Cinema in 1952.

Edinburgh's cinemas: These 29 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s show the popularity of the Capital's picture houses half a century ago

A night out at the pictures was by far the most popular form of entertainment before increasing competition from television, home video, computer games and the internet.

Today there are around 25 cinemas to choose from in Edinburgh – ranging from the tiny screen in The Banshee Labyrinth pub to the huge multiplex Vue at Ocean Terminal.

But in the recent past there was barely an Edinburgh neighbourhood that didn’t have its own local film house.

In the first half of the 20th century there were more than 120 cinemas opened in the capital.

It was the heyday of the silver screen when there was no other way to see your favourite actor’s latest performance or the new must-see awards contender.

And there was plenty of local talent on show – from the wee dog who played Greyfriars Bobby, to Sean Connery making the role of James Bond his own.

Many of the cinemas ended up being demolished or were turned into bingo halls from the late 1960s when people started to stay at home in front of the television instead.

In the week that the Oscar nominations are released, we take a trip back to what was happening in Edinburgh’s cinemas over 50 years ago.

Read more:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Page 1 of 8