I'm 15 years old and I live in Drumry Clydebank. I'm writing to express my opinion on the tragedy that is La Scala cinema on Graham Avenue and issues in Clydebank as a whole. Don't let my age fool you, I have serious thoughts on both political and environmental issues and this year I'm aiming for top marks in my National 5 Qualification for modern studies. I also have very serious thoughts about issues closer to home, here in Clydebank.
My dad has been in the cinema industry for over 20 years and obviously for 15 of those years I have been around. So naturally l grew up around cinema and have a deep interest in it as well as movies and filming. Hence the reason I'm in my school's TV station 'Apostle On Air' which you printed an article on earlier this year.
For a few years now my dad has been telling me about the La Scala building, previously I knew it as the bingo hall I walked by on the way home from school but now I realise that it actually has a very deep and interesting history.
It was opened in 1938 and seated around 2,500 people per screening. The tower attached to the building was originally much higher than it currently stands and you could see it from various points of Clydebank with its name down the side of it. Then came World War II and, as the Germans came soaring in their planes and blitzed Clydebank and its many houses, La Scala stood proud, coming out unharmed.
Throughout the war the cinema continued to operate serving Bankies as they would line the streets of Kilbowie Road trying to put the thought of war at the back of their mind and enjoy a good motion picture. It was eventually bought by ABC and went on to operate as a cinema until 1984. Giving it a lifespan of 46 years.
I agree wholeheartedly that in recent years the building has fallen into decline and it is tragic as I'm sure most Bankies of my parents' and grandparents' generation have fond memories of the cinema, whereas people of my generation have no idea that it used to be a cinema unless they have read an article in the Clydebank Post.
However, I COMPLETELY disagree with the action being taken over the building, the proposed idea of a building of historical interest being demolished for flats that in my opinion are unlikely to get sold in that area unless they are sold as cheap as chips. Is disgraceful. Last year I had the delight of going to the Scottish Parliament with my modern studies class and getting to ask Gill Paterson our local MSP questions.
I asked: "What do you think is the most important thing that has to change in Clydebank" And he responded: "We need better housing for the people." Housing is not what Clydebank needs. Housing is where people live, but there has to be something to make people want to live there and right now Clydebank does not have that. In recent years, the bowling alley in Linnvale has left, pound shops have littered the shopping centre and the Bath House next to the town hall has been partially demolished. Clydebank is losing its heart and soul and there is nothing to keep my generation in Clydebank.
Personally I know that if my father had the money, he would buy La Scala and reform it into a functional cinema, in fact that is his dream however he can't do that without cash and it's likely now that his dream won't come true because as usual developers will win and Clydebank will lose another piece of it's past and for that reason, right now I doubt I will be here in a few year's time to see us lose anymore of it.
Benn Rapson address supplied