Neill, John McBride

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Neill, John McBride (1905–74). Irish architect. He commenced practice in Belfast in 1928. One of his first important projects was the remodelling of the Savoy Hotel, Bangor, Co. Down (1933), in a Modernist style with horizontal bands of windows and stream-lined mouldings. He made his name with a series of cinemas, starting with the Apollo, Belfast (1933), with an Art Deco façade, followed by the Picturedrome (1934—again Art Deco with much use of chevrons). With the Strand (1935), Majestic (1936), Troxy (1936), and Curzon (1936) cinemas in Belfast, and the Tonic in Bangor (1936), he was influenced by the International style. The Tonic was perhaps his finest cinema (and, with a capacity of 2,250, the largest), an accomplished essay in Modernism: its interior was a superb example of the latest in cinema-auditorium design. His later work owed something to Mendelsohn's Universum Cinema, Berlin (1928), which had been widely published.

Most of Neill's buildings have been demolished or converted.


P:JRSUA, v/4 (Mar./Apr.1997), 26–37;
Open (1985)