(All images by author)
A 2006 report stated that one of Edinburgh’s most famous dance halls, the Palais de Danse on Fountainbridge, was set for demolition after the Bingo chain that latterly occupied the site relocated to nearby Fountainpark leisure complex. But six years later the building remains derelict, its shabby facade nevertheless reflecting the elegance of its former life.
Originally opened in 1911 and run jointly as the Coliseum Cinema and ballroom, it became the Palais in 1921. The building was famous for its revolving stage, which allowed two bands to play in unison and change over without a break in the music. Attracting royals and celebrities alike, include a young Sean Connery, the dance hall closed for refurbishment in 1967 and never reopened due to alleged structural problems. It stood abandoned for years before Mecca Bingo took over the building.
But like many other abandoned music halls across the world, modern planners and the city council seem intent on demolishing the landmark structure that was once a popular fixture on the Edinburgh music map. In 2006 Councillor Lorna Shiels said: “The old building looks like a huge Anderson Shelter, especially from the offices and flats above, and it’s a real eyesore.”
Six years on, however, the abandoned Palais de Danse still stands – for now.
Keep reading – explore 29 Abandoned Music Halls, Ballrooms, Theatres and Movie Palaces, Part One (and Part Two), and, speaking of Anderson Shelters, check out this Historic Air-Raid Shelter in a Suburban Back Garden.