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13 Market Place, Boston

Reference Name MLI98317

13 Market Place, Boston

13 Market Place, Boston is an early example of a purpose-built cinema. It used to be the Scala Cinema and is now (2011) a supermarket.


In 1913, 13 Market Place was rebuilt and extended to the east to become the Scala Cinema, replacing several buildings and crossing Bonner Lane to create an entrance on Dolphin Lane. It is an early example of a purpose-built cinema and is unusual in the way its plan has been dictated by its Market Place site, squeezed into the narrow space between the buildings on Dolphin Lane and broadening out into the space available between the Corn Exchange and the shops on the north side of Dolphin Lane. Like many early cinemas, it was also used for variety shows, with which it continued to entertain the troops and Boston residents into the Second World War. The building is now (2011) occupied by a small supermarket, the long foyer area being the shop floor and parts of the first floor used for storage. The stage and backstage area have been altered, but the tiered balcony staging and some of the faded decorative plasterwork survive. The second and third floors seem to have provided accommodation, presumably for the cinema manager or caretaker. The building is red brick with stone and stucco dressings and has a slate and tile roof. The ground floor of the west elevation has a modern shop front above which is a wide-arched window beneath a deep hood-mould supported at either end on scrolled brackets. Immediately above to the second floor are two windows with prominent mullions and transoms. The windows have hood-moulds with foliated stops. Two third-floor windows have mullions and deep hood-moulds immediately below the eaves, with decorative brick cornice between and to either side. There are two blind dormers in the roof, triangular, with small carved heads to the centre of each, and with lead roofs and finials. The pitched roof has a stack at either gable end. Within the building a long narrow ground-floor space contains the shop, probably originally the cinema foyer area. Original features here include slender columns with foliate capitals supporting beams with floral decorative plasterwork. A double staircase rises to a landing with openings on all three sides onto arched corridors. The ceiling above the landing has a modillion cornice and some decorative plasterwork. A large first-floor room overlooks the Market Place through the wide-arched window and has a cornice with an egg and dart motif. Inside the auditorium the tiers for balcony seating survive, with entrances to either side. The arched ceiling is decorated with Rococo style plasterwork including floral motifs and cartouches. A forest of steel rods through the auditorium ceiling may support a suspended floor below, and a ventilation pipe travels through the auditorium and under the proscenium arch to the back wall. No stage or backstage features survive. The second and third floors contain domestic accommodation, including, on the second floor, a kitchen with a cast iron cooking range and fitted cupboards. A living room has a six-panelled door and contains a fireplace, the cast iron and tiled surround of which has been removed and left freestanding. A plain fireplace survives on the third floor, and both second and third floors retain original joinery. Although the fragmentary survival of interior detail and later 20th century alterations to the east elevation mean that it does not meet the criteria for listing and is not of special architectural interest in the national context, the survival and history of this early cinema means it is of considerable local interest. It has evidence of domestic occupation on the second and third floors where original details survive and it makes a strong contribution to the Boston Conservation Area. {1}

1 Unpublished document: English Heritage. 2011-2015. Advice Report from a Heritage Asset Assessment. Case No.463161

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Last updated: 24-July-2015 13:05:01

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