North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

View of Bathing Ponds and Pavilion

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Saltcoats, Saltpans

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Saltcoats Mission Coast Home

Saltcoats - Home of saltpans and sea queens

Harry Kemp, died 1972; impressario

Harry Kemp introduced a series of concert parties during the 1922 summer season at the La Scala cinema in Saltcoats. This proved to be the first of the renowned Kemp Summer Shows which ran at venues up and down the Ayrshire Coast. Kemp also invested heavily in Saltcoats' cinemas, with the Regal and La Scala cinemas in Saltcoats remaining in Kemp family ownership after Harry's death in 1972. Amongst the many performers who featured in Kemp's shows at the Beach Pavillion was Dave Willis (1895-1973), a Scottish comedian and actor well-known for his music hall performances in 1930s and 1940s. Willis also made two films for Welwyn Studios, co-starring with Patricia Kirkwood.

Built on the site of the old Minstrel Stance, the Beach Pavilion was constructed to house summer shows. The Beach Pavilion, built as part of the Lido Complex, was also used a cartographic centre during World War II.

You can read a biography of the Kemp family on the Scottish Screen Archive website. Some forum postings can be read on the Three Towners website.

La Scala Cinema, Hamilton Street, opened in 1913, now the Salt Cot public house.
Regal Cinema, Hamilton Street, opened in 1931, for some years the Metro Night Club.
Adverts in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald for the La Scala and the Regal Cinemas.
Scotch Broth Entertainers who used to appear at Harry's entertainment establishments in the summer season. Harry can be seen standing behind them.

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