It’s Only Rock n’ Roll but… Meh.

In Victorian Glasgow, nothing was thought of the construction of a theatre on Buchanan Street designed with the sole purpose of training drama students.

The theatre, built in 1893, a mere stone’s throw from the Glasgow Stock Exchange (more on that another time) sat 790 people who would regularly turn out to see shows put on by students of Glasgow Athenaeum, the group for which the theatre is named.

The group began with the founding of the Glasgow Educational Association which was designed to compete with Glasgow University. You might scoff at such a notion, sarcastically muttering things like, “That went well” and “There’s egg on their faces now” (drawing strange looks should you happen to be reading this post on public transport) and you’ll therefore be deflated to learn that the Glasgow Athenaeum continued to grow and is known today as The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The theatre itself was designed to demonstrate the architectural possibilities of elevators which were a relatively new product to the mass market in the early 1890s, hence the building’s tall, narrow design. 

Its importance to Glasgow’s theatrical history can’t be overlooked. As well as housing the progenitors of the Royal Conservatoire, a new theatre company opened in the Athenaeum in 1943. The Citizens Company lasted two years in the building before moving on to its current location in the South Side.

Unfortunately the Athenaeum has not operated as a theatre since 1997 and has filled many functions since. In fact, it was once mooted as a branch of Häagen-Dazs who began renovations without planning permission and were quickly frozen out (sorry).

It now sits being nuzzled uncomfortably by the abominable snowman of retailing progress, Buchanan Quarter and has made its own concession to the 21st Century: it now houses Hard Rock Café. Which is nice. If you like that sort of thing.

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I’ve briefly mentioned The Beresford Hotel before and it’ll come as no surprise to most of you that this example of Streamline Moderne is one of my favourite buildings in the city.

It was originally built a year before the outbreak of World War II (that’s 1938, history fans) to provide accommodation for visitors attending the Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park. Unusually its architect was also the owner and managing director of the hotel, something which I’m sure your boy from Grand Designs would be furious about.

During the war it became a favourite haunt of American servicemen but it went into steep decline after the war and was sold off to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1952 and was converted to offices.

It was sold again in 1964 to Strathclyde University who reconverted it into accommodation for their students and renamed it Baird Hall, both uses a far cry from the glamour of its original purpose.

The Beresford was converted again in 2003 to private apartments and, speaking as someone who used to live on Sauchiehall Street, they must be lovely and quiet at the weekends.

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This photograph, taken c. 1977 shows the original subway station at St. Enoch with the modern entrance to the station being dug out from underneath. The tops of the escalators are (very approximately) where the beam is in the foreground.
During the modernisation of Glasgow’s subway system in the 70s, there were a number of alterations to stations and many were replaced with modern stations but the old St Enoch station survives today.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how the Subway has changed since it opened, there’s a wee post about its ‘ghost station’ which you can read right here.
I’m afraid I’ve had this photo kicking around so long that I’m not sure who originally took it. If you know, please drop me a message and I’ll add a credit.
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This photograph, taken c. 1977 shows the original subway station at St. Enoch with the modern entrance to the station being dug out from underneath. The tops of the escalators are (very approximately) where the beam is in the foreground.

During the modernisation of Glasgow’s subway system in the 70s, there were a number of alterations to stations and many were replaced with modern stations but the old St Enoch station survives today.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how the Subway has changed since it opened, there’s a wee post about its ‘ghost station’ which you can read right here.

I’m afraid I’ve had this photo kicking around so long that I’m not sure who originally took it. If you know, please drop me a message and I’ll add a credit.

Old Glasgow elsewhere: Facebook | Twitter | Interactive Map


The Old Glasgow map is a virtual tour of all the sites mentioned on this blog and means you don’t have to be resident in the city to go for a dander about. All you’ve got to do is click here.
Nae danger.
Also, don’t forget to come and say hi on Facebook & Twitter.

The Old Glasgow map is a virtual tour of all the sites mentioned on this blog and means you don’t have to be resident in the city to go for a dander about. All you’ve got to do is click here.

Nae danger.

Also, don’t forget to come and say hi on Facebook & Twitter.


Someone asked me to look out some old photos of Battlefield on the Facebook the other week there and I squirrelled these away in drafts to show you guys. As I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and need to get myself back into the swing of posting regularly, here’s a quickie.

Given the name, you would be forgiven that this area of the South Side resembles the Somme, but it actually comes from the Battle of Langside in 1568 which Mary Queen of Scots supposedly watched from Cathcart Castle.

The ‘rest’ pictured in the first two images sits in the shadow of the Victoria Infirmary and is as much a landmark in the city as its overbearing neighbour. It was originally built in 1915 as a tram shelter (you can see a tram in the 1904 shot on the bottom right) and newsagent and its grandiose design meant that it quickly became a symbol of the area.

It is due in no small part to the work of the owners of the restaurant which now occupies it that the building survives today. Although it was B-listed by the council in 1981, they decided to tear it down in 1990 after structural faults were found.

After a petition against the demolition order was accepted by the council (I know- remember when they worked?), extensive restoration works were carried out and the Battlefield Rest(aurant) was opened in 1994.

It’s still going strong today and thanks to them we’re still able to enjoy this oddity of public transport architecture. So thanks for that.

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Anonymous asked: Trying to put a face to the words. Any resemblance - Túlio Monteiro (Brazilian Ornithologist from the film 'Rio')?

Not a million miles away, I suppose.


glasgowmuseums:

Please Give Us Your Views!
The West Court Gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is having a makeover, and we would like to offer you the opportunity to tell us what objects captivate you and why. Is it Sir Roger the Elephant? The Spitfire? Or is it all about Fulton’s Orrery?
Either take a photo of your favourite object (selfies welcome!) or draw a picture of it, and remember to tell us why it matters to you.
How to give us your views:
To submit your thoughts, photos or sketches, simply click on ‘Your Views’ at the top or foot of this page. You may also like to ‘Ask a Question’, again, using the same options.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Best wishes
Glasgow Museums

I know that you lot are mad about selfies and now glasgowmuseums are actually asking you to take one in front of fantastic collections in Kelvingrove. 

Onward!

glasgowmuseums:

Please Give Us Your Views!

The West Court Gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is having a makeover, and we would like to offer you the opportunity to tell us what objects captivate you and why. Is it Sir Roger the Elephant? The Spitfire? Or is it all about Fulton’s Orrery?

Either take a photo of your favourite object (selfies welcome!) or draw a picture of it, and remember to tell us why it matters to you.

How to give us your views:

To submit your thoughts, photos or sketches, simply click on ‘Your Views’ at the top or foot of this page. You may also like to ‘Ask a Question’, again, using the same options.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes

Glasgow Museums

I know that you lot are mad about selfies and now glasgowmuseums are actually asking you to take one in front of fantastic collections in Kelvingrove. Onward!

Anonymous proves that cream always rises to the top:

Could you find so information on the Creme de la Creme Restaurant? It used to be an old cinema converted into a restaurant in the West End. I used to go there as a kid and loved it! Was devastated when it was demolished.

Now a Tesco (isn’t everything?) and “luxury” apartments, I’m led to believe that the restaurant housed in this old cinema was something of a Glasgow institution.

The original building wasn’t exactly an architectural gem, being described by a Hidden Glasgow user as looking ‘like a watchtower on Alcatraz Island’ although I suppose there’s no accounting for taste. After the cinema closed in 1959, it went on to become a boxing arena, bingo club, nightclub before finally taking on its final guise as Creme De La Creme.

You can get a rough idea of what the restaurant looked like inside from the poster I’ve posted in the images but given its modest claim to be Europe’s largest and finest, I’m sure there are people still experiencing flashbacks to their innovative flavour combinations.

Unusually for Old Glasgow, Creme De La Creme only closed in 2005 and therefore I’d encourage anyone who went to give me a shout and let me know what the food was like (I’ll stick the best ones at the end of this). 

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Here’s a (slightly paraphrased) question from @Tall_Tucks on the Old Glasgow Twitter:

Do you still take requests? My Mum would like to know about the Sick Children’s Hospital dispensary on West Graham Street.

First of all, to anyone wondering, I do take requests but I don’t have any Diana Ross so don’t even ask.

This deceptively large curiosity sits among the new builds of Cowcaddens and doesn’t make a lot of sense if viewed out of context. Why would a dispensary for a Sick Children’s hospital be so far from Yorkhill?

Well, as I briefly mentioned in a previous post, l’hôpital de sick weans hasn’t always been out in the West End. Up until 1914, the hospital was in Garnethill, just a (championship winning) stone’s throw from the Dispensary. The building at 45 Scott Street is still there today and forms part of St. Aloysius College.

Since the original hospital was significantly smaller than the leviathan at Yorkhill, the directors and medical staff intended to try and treat as many children as they could in an outpatient capacity. They had originally planned to build a Dispensary for that purpose on the hospital site but had run out of money. 

Luckily the Duchess of Montrose (for it is she) organised a ‘Fancy Fair’ in the St. Andrew’s Hall to raise money. To sum up the idea of a ‘Fancy Fair’ in a sentence, it’s like a Bring & Buy Sale for people with more money than sense. Regardless, the money was raised and the Dispensary built.

It opened in 1888 and provided a large dispensing room, a waiting area, consulting rooms for physicians, an isolation room for infectious weans and accommodation for the sisters and caretaker.

In 1889 the Dispensary saw more than 4,000 patients and this number had more than tripled by 1914. 

When the new hospital opened, the Dispensary continued its work with poor children, adding a physiotherapy department, a department for skin diseases and a speech clinic to its already large repertoire. It was eventually closed when the new outpatient unit opened at Yorkhill in 1953 and served as various labs for the Western Region Hospital Board until it was bought by Glasgow School of Art.

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Anonymous asked: sight of tower ballroom cowcaddens 1930

Hi there, you’ll find more details on the Tower Ballroom here:

image

The Tower Ballroom