Lyceum Cinema (Former), 908, Govan Road, Govan

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Lyceum Cinema (Former)
Other Name(s)
County Bingo Social Club (Former)
908, Govan Road, Govan
Postcode (click to find nearby buildings)
Planning Authority (click to search)
Divisional Area (click to search)
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 55212 65882
Location Type
HS Reference No


Streamlined International Modern suburban super-cinema, converted to bingo hall and cinema 1974, and closed 2006. Strikingly positioned to fully exploit corner site with coloured brick faience and glass facade fronting circular foyer with void behind. Wide curved corner entrance with 5 broad doors and decorative tile banding under full-width cantilevered canopy giving way to 5 tall, back-lit, Cristol glass-block windows divided by sky-blue terracotta-tiled, reinforced concrete mullions (now, 2008, covered with banner) and surmounted by further canopy. Auditorium, aligned E-W some distance from entrance facade.

Designed by renowned cinema architects, CJ McNair and Elder, the Lyceum opened in December 1938 and was built to seat 2,600. The best preserved example of McNair and Elder's cinema work, the Lyceum is an important and rare example of a streamlined International Modern super-cinema. It forms an important part of the streetscape in Govan and it is a good example of cinema architecture in a city which was closely associated with the type, but where examples with this level of intactness are increasingly rare. The interior contains many surviving features of interest and continues the streamlined design of the exterior.

Built on the site of the 1898 Lyceum Music Hall which had been converted to a cinema in 1923 and burned down in 1937. A series of architectural plans dating from February to October 1938, show how ideas for a replacement structure evolved from a more simple traditional frontage incorporating shops at Govan Road to the final impressive design which utilises the difficult corner site to advertise its function and welcome patrons into what was a brightly lit circular foyer. To reach the auditorium which runs parallel to Govan Road, a long walk and near 90 degree turn is required, but cleverly disguised. Early plans also allow for the opening up of a `vomitory' at the centre front stalls leading from a separate entrance in McKechnie Street, presumably to be included if audience numbers were high enough. As such an entrance was subsequently built, numbers apparently rose to adequate levels. After being sold to County Bingo in 1974, subsequent conversion entailed adapting the stalls for bingo with a 480 seat cinema retained in the balcony. The cinema closed in 1981 and the bingo hall closed in 2006.

The architects, Charles John McNair and Robert Elder, had entered into partnership with Glasgow entrepreneur and cinema exhibitor George Urie Scott early in the 1930s. Together they formed the Cinema Construction Company, soon becoming one of the most prolific cinema design companies in Scotland, producing designs for independent cinemas as well as the ABC chain. Stylistic changes within the McNair and Elder partnership lead to the conclusion, based also on anecdotal evidence from Robert Forsyth a junior draughtsman with the practice at the time, that Elder was responsible for most of the designs, especially the interiors. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
C. J. McNair

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
January 2006, 20/11/2007, 30/11/2010, 18/7/2013
Development History
1974: The stalls are adapted for bingo, though a 480-seat cinema is retained in the balcony. 1981: The cinema closes. 18 June 2004: The Glasgow Evening Times reports that the building remains in use as a bingo hall, though paint is peeling from the walls and the façade requires restoration. Local residents have expressed concern at the condition of the building, which is owned by County Properties and Developments of Airdrie. 6 April 2005: The Herald reports that the cinema is to be given a face-lift as part of £20,000 Govan environmental projects. The Glasgow Evening Times reports that Glasgow Housing Association has erected a banner of how the cinema looked in the 1940s in the hope of sparked interest in its further restoration. 15 April 2005: The Glaswegian repeats the story. January 2006: The building still appears to be in use (extent unknown). Decision to move to ALERT database at present. November 2007: External inspection reveals the exterior paintwork to be in poor condition and showing a marked deterioration since the previous site visit. The building appears to be derelict and is believed to have been vacant since closure as a Bingo Hall in October 2006.
August 2010: A member of the public contacts SCT to advise some clearing out of the premises had taken place.
November 2010: External inspection finds the cinema remains disused. Since our previous visit the condition of the paint on the front and side elevations has deteriorated further. Otherwise it appears, from external inspection, to be in much the same condition.
18 July 2013: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit.
25 October 2013: Local planners advise the building remains in much the same condition as previously. No proposals for the site have yet been brought forward.
19 November 2013: Local planners advise recent pre-application discussions have taken place between the owner's architect and the planning department regarding re-use and restoration of the building. Discussions and proposals are believed to be at a very early stage.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Govan Cross
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
0141 287 5492


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Name of Owners
Unverified - see FAQ section on ascertaining ownership
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit