Published: 20/10/2017 06:00 - Updated: 12/10/2017 14:56

Much-loved public venue destroyed by fire in 1972

IC 200, Inverness Courier


HUNDREDS watched helplessly as the Playhouse Cinema was destroyed by a fierce blaze in March.

Historic films containing scenes of events throughout the Highlands and props used at Christmas time for the Playhouse Fairyland Cafe were lost in the fire which raged for almost three hours. It broke out during a run of Le Mans starring Steve McQueen.

It was described as a personal tragedy for James Nairn, northern area theatre controller of Caledonian Associated Cinemas, who had joined the cinema in 1941 as manager and had a deep attachment to the venue.

The building was located near the junction of Academy Street and Millburn Road and during its 41 years it had been used for Mod competitions, Freedom ceremonies and political rallies.

The Inverness Courier noted: "The fire was one of the most spectacular and destructive in Inverness in the last four decades, being comparable to the fires in the Theatre Royal in 1931, the St Columba High Church in 1940, the Methodist Church on Union Street in 1961 and the premises of Messrs Alex Fraser and Company in Dempster Gardens in 1970."

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