Image: Highland Council Planning Dept

The La Scala cinema was opened in December 1913. It was designed by Alexander Ross & Son to originally seat 1000 people. This was changed during refurbishment over the years.

The original entrance was on the corner of Academy Street and Strothers Lane, moving to Strothers Lane in the 1970s. A former employee remembers that buses used to hit the canopy when the entrance fronted Academy Street.

Image: Highland Council Planning Dept/Jim Whyte

There was a time when cinemas were sprayed with disinfectant to kill fleas; each of the cinemas in Inverness had a different scent. La Scala was known locally as ‘The Flea Pit’, although it was actually very clean. The front stalls were the cheap seats and people called them ‘The Scratchers’. It was such a well-used term, folks would ask for tickets for the scratchers.

Advert for La Scala from 1915 (Image:

In 1996, the world premiere of Loch Ness was staged at La Scala with the stars, Ted Danson and Joely Richardson, attending along with other celebrities such as Bob Geldof, Koo Stark and Anneka Rice.

The cinema screened its last film, Casablanca, and closed its doors in January 2001. It was demolished in January 2005.