Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Scala Cinema.

The building that is todays Poundstretcher shop in the Market Place is believed to have been built in 1851, this was to become the town’s old Scala Cinema, the original features from which remain largely intact today.

Scan of the original metal lettering which marked out the stalls in the upper circle, some of the original paint remains today.

The Scala Picture-House and Cafe was the first permanent built auditorium in Boston for the showing of films. It opened on 17th March 1914, with seating for around 1,000 people. In 1917, it was taken over by George Aspland-Howden who had opened the New Electric Theatre just five doors away in 1910.
Boston's Coat of Arms above the stage.
On Saturday 29th June 1940 it closed its doors for its annual staff summer holidays after the showing of `The Chicken Wagon Family` never to reopen as a public cinema.

It was then taken over by the Armed Forces until 1945, when all the fittings had been removed.

It remained unused for a few years, until it was converted into a furniture showroom, the stage and proscenium being knocked down and replaced by a brick wall.

The only room used above the shop today is the old cafeteria on the first floor, which is used for storage now.

On the second floor is the theatre’s old gallery – minus the seats. The main seating area below the gallery is now the shop floor with the wooden stage at the rear being used for a warehouse.



  1. Oh what a waste of another piece of Bostons history !!!

  2. How beautiful in its heydey and like John, what a waste! Boston Preservation Trust along with some local affluent businesses could make this fantastic again. What a boon for the town. Why wasn't it Listed?

  3. Helen (The Boston Old Times)13 March 2013 at 23:14

    It is a real shame, like so many other treasures that were neglected or destroyed. The reason for it not being listed is that by the time the system of listing buildings of architectural or historical interest got going, too much of the building had already been destroyed and the authorities did not see the point - for example the firm that had taken over the building, and turned it into a furniture shop, demolished the stage and constructed an extension (that extends to Dolphin Lane). It would cost a huge amount of money to put right. By the way, fantastic pictures. Thanks.

    1. From the look of these pictures it could still be possible. Such a shame it's being left to rot. Boston has fantastic heritage which, if preserved, could be a real boost to the town and attract visitors from far and wide. It needs a bit of foresight. The only problem is trying to convince the Council that we don't need any more bookies or mobile phone shops and to do more to attract people to such a beautiful town.

    2. I totally agree with Anonymous. The town is slowly being destroyed by mobile phone shops/bookies etc. Bringing back to life such a fantastic building would be a big visitor attraction. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture not just the negatives. Remember when it's gone, it's gone and what does Boston have left to attract people from far and wide.

  4. Thank you for bringing this to light. My ancestor, George Sinclair of Dolphin Lane, was a master carver, gilder and ornamental painter in the town between 1832 and 1869. I do wonder if he was associated with the original interior work.