Local residents watch fire engulf the Lyceum Cinema, in Slateford, in May 1963.

Edinburgh's cinemas: These 29 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s show the popularity of the Capital's picture houses half a century ago

With the shocking news that Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema is closing, we look back to when night out at the pictures was by far the most popular form of entertainment before increasing competition from television, home video, computer games and the internet.

Today there are around 25 cinemas to choose from in Edinburgh – ranging from the tiny screen in The Banshee Labyrinth pub to the huge multiplex Vue at Ocean Terminal.

But in the recent past there was barely an Edinburgh neighbourhood that didn’t have its own local film house.

In the first half of the 20th century there were more than 120 cinemas opened in the capital.

It was the heyday of the silver screen when there was no other way to see your favourite actor’s latest performance or the new must-see awards contender.

And there was plenty of local talent on show – from the wee dog who played Greyfriars Bobby, to Sean Connery making the role of James Bond his own.

Many of the cinemas ended up being demolished or were turned into bingo halls from the late 1960s when people started to stay at home in front of the television instead.

In the week when it’s been announced that the Edinburgh Filmhouse is to close we take a trip back to what was happening in Edinburgh’s cinemas over 50 years ago.

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