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Picture Halls...." kin a go tae the pictures Mammy?"    
Glasgow the Cinema City or as we would say "Glesca the place wi' aw the picture halls"
At the turn of the century Glasgow was one of the liveliest cities in Europe. Walking was the principal form of transport and the bustling streets were filled with groups heading for the theatre, music halls, pubs, banquets and the pictures!
Glasgow embraced the cinema boom just as it did with many other aspects of embraced it with a fervour and passion unequalled anywhere else in the United Kingdom. 
For Glasgow in its Picture House heyday was CINEMA CITY.
Pre-war newspapers carried page after page of adverts for picture houses, columns displaying programme details for 130 plus cinemas. More per head of population than any other city in Europe! Films were shown in converted shops, public halls, skating rinks etc but the first building to open exclusively for the showing of films was in our famous Sauchiehall Street in 1907, Pringle's Picture Palace. By 1917 there were over one hundred establishments throughout the city.
While some were high class halls, complete with bars, restaurants and uniformed ushers, others were old warehouses and of the 'fleapit' variety!

Skinny Malinky long legs
Big Banana feet
went tae the pictures
and couldnae find a seat


 Arcadia Picture Hall

ARCADIA PICTURE HALL, London Rd, Bridgeton

 Black Cat Cinema

The Black Cat opened in 1921 and seated 893 people.
It closed its doors in 1955

 The Kings cinema

KINGS PICTURE THEATRE, 59 James St, Bridgeton
The Kings at 59 James Street was built in 1910 and seated 1400 people. 
The current frontage dates from a 1930's rebuild.
It closed its doors in 1959 and is now a furniture store warehouse.
Originally a drill hall and then a roller skating rink.

Langham Hall Pictures

Broad St, Bridgeton 

Olympia Picture hall

The Olympia theatre opened in 1911 seating 2000
It was taken over by the ABC chain in 1924, closing in 1974. 
It became a bingo hall until the late nineties, then a furniture store.... 
but is now closed.  The facade is a listed B building.

Wee Geggie

The Premier was converted from an engine works in 1910 and seated 700 people. It closed its doors in 1957 was a warehouse but is now closed and 
up for let. The Auditorium was flat floored.
Plaza Cinema PLAZA PICTURE HALL, Nuneaton Street, Bridgeton


Strathie' cinema



When the cinema boom faded many cinemas were converted into bingo halls, warehouses and storage facilities but many were reduced to lying sadly shuttered and dormant. The laughter of the audiences, the characters of bygone days but a distant memory......


Mar. 2003, extract from GlescaPals Messageboard, Betty Murphy 
       I used to go with my granny to the pictures every night in the week and sometimes twice on a Saturday!
       I went to the Arcadia , Olympia, Orient, Argyle before it got burned down, the Granada, 3P's [parkhead picture palace] Blackcat, Bedford, and there were many more I just can't remember all the names, that's when they showed two films, and the programme changed half way through the week   
Oct. 2015, Email, GlescaPal William M Neilly aka 'glesca artist', Hamilton, Scotland
As teenagers we went to the pictures with our pals, usually twice a week as they would change the programme and we would delight in visiting cinemas in other locales. For example: The Plaza in Nuneaton Street; The Olympia at Bridgeton Cross; The Arcadia in Arcadia Street; The Kings in James Street; The Royal and in Main Street; The Granada at Parkhead Cross; The Orient in Gallowgate; The Scotia in Millerston Street; The RioThe Odeon in Rutherglen; The Ritz in Cambuslang.   Occasionally, especially if on a date, we would go to the cinemas in the City Centre.

There was definitely a pecking order in cinemas based on location, size (capacity), interior decoration and number of projectors.  The standards obviously reflected the ticket price.  The lower order cinemas were sometimes termed “flea pits”. They had a single projector. They had wooden bench seats that sometimes were padded with hair and covered with material that was usually ripped or slashed.   The toilets were primitive and not kept very clean.  Further up the ladder the individual seats were padded, had armrests and had small ashtrays screwed to the back of the seats. Each row and seat was numbered.  The toilets were better equipped and maintained and the interior decoration, flooring and carpeting, lighting and screen curtains all improved and became plusher as you visited the more expensive cinemas, especially those within the City Centre.

Nov. 2015, extract from Email, GlescaPal Rena Brown, Glasgow
              Hi Webmaister, just a wee bit on picture houses, but I'm sure you will have most of this info.
The Olympia was one of more better ones, dearer to get into, I can't remember how much.  
Last picture I saw in the Olympia was Bonnie & Clyde with Fay Dunaway and Warren Beattie. I liked the cowboy and Indian pictures, and we all cheered when goodies were on screen and boo when baddies were on screen. 
             Then there was the Kings in James St, when you went in, at back of stalls there was rows of seats and steps up so we loved to get those seats, as above everyone. 

               The wee Royal in Main St., we went there a lot on Saturdays as it was only 3d to get in, also wee Geggie, in Kirkpatrick st, 3d there too. Both cinema's had wooden benches for seats, and you were all squashed together.
              The Arcadia was where I went a lot as I stayed beside it, it was called 'the ranch' as it showed a lot of cowboy pictures, it was in London Rd. and it was 6d to get in. What I enjoyed about pictures in those days you had wee the picture, then trailers for what would be next week then the big picture, so you spent hrs there. 
Sometimes in the Arcadia on Saturday morning they had contest were kids got up and sang, danced etc.
               At the interval the ice cream girl came in with a wee tray and straps round her back to sell to you, she stood at bottom near stage, usherettes all had wee hats on head, men I'm sure had wine colour uniform and hat on head.
              The stars I liked very much were Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Doris Day, Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and of course Trigger, could go on and on. 



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