THE final curtain has come down at the historic Regal Cinema in Paisley after demolition work was completed.
A temporary road closure was in place along parts of High Street and Lady Lane at the weekend so that workers could bring in the heavy machinery needed to bring down the walls of the former picture house.
Demolition has been ongoing at the site since early last month. Contractors spent weeks clearing the old cinema of asbestos and then began to dismantle the building.
On Saturday, huge bulldozers carried out the final demolition work and it was a sad day for those who remember Paisley’s once thriving cinema scene.
Gordon Speir, a surveyor with Central Demolition, has been in charge of the demolition work.
He said: “It’s been a tricky job and has taken a bit longer than we expected. We found a lot of asbestos which needed to be taken out slowly.
“There were also various issues around the demolition which meant we had to bring the building down in stages rather than all at once.
“We found a few puggy machines when we were demolishing the building.”
At one time, Paisley boasted a number of picture houses but now there are none and film-loving Buddies have to travel to Linwood or Glasgow to catch the latest big screen offerings.
Built in 1934, the Regal changed its name to the ABC in the 1960s, during which time it was often packed with thousands of young Buddies rushing along to the ‘Minors’ on Saturday mornings.
Among those fans was Paisley singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty.
In an exclusive interview with former Paisley Daily Express editor Norman Macdonald, Gerry revealed how he went along to the Minors and sang along to their theme tune.
The cinema was renamed the Regal when it was bought by CAC in 1978 but the last film to be viewed there was screened in 1981.
The building was then bought over by County Bingo and was run as a bingo and social club before being sold on to Gala, which triggered its closure on March 5, 2006.
Gala then sold it back to County Properties and Developments, who still own the site.
Former Renfrewshire Provost Nancy Allison worked part-time in the Regal from 1956 to save up some extra cash for Christmas presents.
She said: “I worked there for five or six years as an usherette and in the kiosk.
“I always remember we were screening the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho and the manager brought in a lot of extra first aid people because there was a lot of stories about people fainting when Janet Leigh was stabbed in the shower.”
Yesterday, no-one at County Properties and Developments was available for comment.
It remains unclear what they plan to do with the Regal site.